Iraq executes "Chemical Ali"

Monday, January 25, 2010

File photo of Ali Hassan al-Majid at a hearing in 2004.
Image: U.S. Air Force.

Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam Hussein convicted in Iraq of genocide and crimes against humanity, is dead. "The condemned Ali Hassan al-Majid has been executed by hanging until death today", said Ali al-Dabbagh, a government spokesman.

"Chemical Ali", as he was known, received a death sentence on January 17, 2010, for ordering the 1988 gas attack on the town of Halabja in northern Iraq; 5,000 people are thought to have died in the assault on the Kurdish area. Majid, 68, had also received the death sentence at earlier trials for his part in attacks on Kurds in 1988, for suppressing a revolt by Shia Muslims, and for killing Shia Muslims in Baghdad in 1999. He was regarded as one of the most brutal figures in Saddam Hussein's regime, ordering killings of opponents, as well as mass deportations. He was captured after the fall of Saddam in 2003.

According to the government spokesman, "[t]he execution happened without any violations, shouting or cries of joy." The Iraqi state television, al-Iraqiya, broadcast images that it says are of the hanging. Reactions from Iraqis to the news varied – one person from Tikrit, Majid's home town, said that he had been "killed by traitors and hooligans," but other Iraqis said that they were pleased.