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Judge: 'Chemical Ali,' 2 others to be hanged

  • Story Highlights
  • Execution of three defendants in Anfal trial required within 30 days
  • Roadside bomb in Baghdad kills one, injures five
  • UK PM Gordon Brown defends withdrawal of UK troops from Iraqis base
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Three members of the former Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein -- including the man known as "Chemical Ali" -- will be executed within 30 days, senior appellate Judge Munir Haddad said Tuesday.


Ali Hassan al-Majeed, nicknamed "Chemical Ali," speaks at his trial last year.

The appellate chamber upheld their sentences of death by hanging, which were imposed in June.

The three defendants are Hussein's first cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majeed, nicknamed "Chemical Ali;" Sultan Hashem Ahmed, military commander of the Anfal campaign; and Hussein Rashid Mohammed, deputy general commander of the Iraqi armed force, assistant chief of staff for military operations, and former Republican Guard commander.

They were convicted in June for their role in the Anfal campaign, an Iraqi Army offensive in the 1980s that killed up to 100,000 people in the country's Kurdish region. They were found guilty of a variety of charges, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Under Iraqi law, the government must carry out the executions within 30 days after the appeals process has been exhausted.

Al-Majeed earned his nickname for atrocities committed in the Anfal campaign during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war. In the scorched earth attacks, poisonous gas and chemicals were used against the Kurds.

Saddam Hussein was also a defendant in the Anfal trial, but was hanged late last year after being convicted in a separate trial of the 1982 killings in the Shiite town of Dujail.

The Anfal trial resumed a week after Hussein's hanging.

In addition to the three defendants sentenced to death in June, two others received life sentences.

A sixth defendant -- the former governor of the region where the gas attacks occurred -- was cleared on all charges. Chief prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon had requested that Taher Tawfiq al-Ani be acquitted because of lack of evidence.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb blast in eastern Baghdad's Zayouna neighborhood killed one civilian and wounded five others Tuesday morning, according to an Iraqi Interior Ministry official.

Separately, gunmen shot and killed a camera operator for al-Iraqi State TV Monday evening in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, local police said.

According to the count kept by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, 114 journalists and 40 media support staffers have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. The CPJ estimates more than 85 percent of media deaths have been Iraqis.

On Monday, 500 British troops completed their withdrawal from their base in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has dismissed a suggestion that the withdrawal from Basra Palace was a defeat, insisting it was an "organized" move.

Brown said Monday troops would still be able to intervene in the city in "certain circumstances."

Asked if the move was a "pull-out in defeat ... a retreat," Brown told the BBC: "Let me make this very clear. This is a pre-planned, and this is an organized move from Basra Palace to Basra Air Station."

The move consolidates most of Britain's 5,500-strong force at Basra airport, which has been hit daily by mortar attacks.

The move does not represent a major shift nor does it represent a pullout, the British Ministry of Defense said.

A British military spokesman in Basra said there were no major incidents during the withdrawal, although a British vehicle was damaged and two soldiers were wounded in an attack.

People in Basra cheered the British departure. The pullout happened at a "snail's pace" as the convoy checked for roadside explosives, Tom Newton Dunn, Defense Editor for The Sun and the only British journalist with UK forces in the area, told Sky News. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Raja Razek, Daniela Berretta and Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.

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