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Iraq court sentences former Saddam official to death

The Iraqi High Criminal Court [Red Cross backgrounder, PDF; JURIST news archive] said on Tuesday that it has sentenced to death a senior official of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive]. Mezban Khadar Hadi [Global Security profile], who was a leader in Saddam's Baath Party [BBC backgrounder], will be executed for draining the country's marshlands [AFP report] in an effort quash Shiite resistance in the region. Before his arrest in 2003, Hadi was a member of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council [Encyclopedia Britannica profile], which had both legislative and and executive authorities under Saddam's regime. The court also sentenced Saddam advisor Abdul Ghani Abdul Ghafoor to life in prison and 29 other Baath officials to prison sentences of up to 15 years.

On Monday, the court also sentenced former Baath Party official Abdul Ghani Abdul Ghafoor to life in prison for the repression of Iraqi Shiite Muslims in 1991, and dropped charges against Watban Ibrahim al-Hassan, Hussein's half-brother, for lack of evidence. Former Defense Minister Sultan Hashim also received 15 years in prison. In May, the appeals court for Iraq's Justice and Accountability Commission overturned a ban on nine newly elected members of parliament accused of having ties to the banned Baath Party. The ad hoc commission was created to eliminate Iraqi officials with potential connections to the regime, which the new government has been working to move away from since taking power.

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