Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The trial of 15 top officials from Saddam Hussein’s regime, including former Defence Minister Ali Hassan al-Majid (aka Chemical Ali) already sentenced to death, got underway yesterday. They are all charged with crimes against humanity and face the noose for their role in the 1991 slaughter of Shias.
On March 2 of that year, following the pullout of Iraqi troops from Kuwait in the wake of their defeat against the US-led coalition, largely Shia southern Iraq rose against the minority Sunni-dominated Saddam regime. Repression that lasted till mid-April by the regime’s elite units caused the death of about 100,000 people.
Saddam’s cousin, known as “Chemical” Ali for using weapons of mass destruction against Kurds in northern Iraq, received a death sentence for his rope in slaughtering about 182,000 Kurds in 1988 as part of the regime’s Anfal campaign. The sentence is currently under appeal but should it be rejected all other charges will be dropped and he can be executed within 30 days since the sentence.
During yesterday’s trial hearing, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Al ‘Amārah, the capital of Missan, one of the southern provinces most affected by the 1991 repression, to remember the massacre and demand the death penalty for the defendants.