Iraq's top court today sentenced the country's former deputy premier Tareq Aziz and Saddam Hussein's hatchet man "Chemical Ali" Hassan al Majid to 15 years in jail for crimes against humanity. Aziz and Majid, and six other defendants were charged over the 1992 murders of 42 Baghdad traders and had risked the death penalty. The slain merchants had been accused of racketeering while Iraq was under punishing UN sanctions imposed after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
Today's decision followed a verdict delivered by the court on March 2 that condemned Majid, a half brother of Saddam, to his third death sentence for murder. However, the court had acquitted Aziz, 73, who was Saddam's spokesman to the outside world, on the same charges of crimes against humanity. *AFP