[JURIST] Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] and two co-defendants were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging [AP recorded video; extended version via YouTube] Sunday for crimes against humanity [charging instrument, PDF] committed in the Iraqi town of Dujail [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline]. Hussein was charged [JURIST report] with killing, torturing and illegally detaining Dujail residents, including 148 Shiites [JURIST report], after an unsuccessful attempt on his life there in 1982.
Hussein's chief defense lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi called the verdict a "farce" and said that an appeal would be filed. Under the statute of the Iraqi High Tribunal, death sentences are automatically appealed to a nine-judge panel for review. If the sentence is upheld, it must be carried out within 30 days. Hussein is currently on trial on separate genocide charges [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline] for allegedly killing 100,000 Kurds during the so-called "Anfal" campaigns [HRW backgrounder] in the late 1980s. A US official, speaking anonymously, said in August that the Anfal trial could continue posthumously [JURIST report] should Hussein be executed before proceedings in the second trial conclude. AP has more.
Also sentenced to death Sunday were Saddam's half-brother and former head of Iraqi intelligence Barzan al-Tikriti and former Revolutonary Court chief judge Awad al-Bandar [JURIST news archive]. Of Saddam's other co-defendants, former Iraqi vice president Taha Yassin Ramadhan received life imprisonment, while Dujail Baath party officials Mizher Abdulla Kadhem Rowied, Abdulla Kadhem Rowied and Ali Dayeh Ali were each sentenced to 15 years. Former Baath party official Mohammed Azawi Ali was acquitted for lack of evidence. VOI has local coverage.
Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.