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'Chemical Ali' released from hospital after heart attack from hunger strike

[JURIST] Ali Hassan al-Majid [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], better known in the Western media as "Chemical Ali," has been released from the hospital and returned to a US detention facility in Baghdad, US military officials said Tuesday. Al-Majid was hospitalized [JURIST report] earlier this week after launching a hunger strike over his detention conditions. US officials said that al-Majid suffered a heart attack as a result of the hunger strike, but that he was now in stable condition. The hunger strike was joined by 14 other detainees in protest of their court-ordered transfer to the detention facility at the Iraqi High Tribunal, the court which convicted al-Majid and several co-defendants on genocide and war crimes charges for their roles in the deaths of tens of thousands of Kurds during the Anfal campaign [HRW backgrounder] of 1988. Al-Majid and the detainees who went on hunger strike are also on trial [JURIST report] on separate crimes against humanity charges for their alleged role in the violent suppression of a predominately Shi'a uprising [HRW backgrounder] in southern Iraq following the 1991 Persian Gulf War. After his release from a US medical facility, al-Majid was transferred back to Camp Cropper, rather than the Iraqi courthouse, and a defense lawyer indicated that the other detainees would also be transferred back to Camp Cropper. AP has more.

Al-Majid's death sentence in the Anfal case was upheld on appeal last September, but Iraq's Presidency Council did not approve the execution [JURIST reports] until late February. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government said in early March that al-Majid would not be executed [JURIST report] until the Presidency Council approved the death sentences of al-Majid's two co-defendants.

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