Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Iraqi Kurds rejoice over execution of Chemical Ali
An AFP file photo of a Kurd showing pictures of his family before and after they were killed in the Halbja massacre.
Tue, 26 Jan 2010 02:54:04 GMT
Iraqi Kurds have expressed joy over the execution of 'Chemical Ali' — a key player in the Baath regime's war machine, which killed thousands of Kurds.
Ali Hassan al-Majid al-Tikritieh, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's first cousin and one of his most trusted men, nicknamed 'Chemical Ali,' was executed in Baghdad on Monday.
The punishment was meted out for Majid's part in the 1988 chemical weapons attack on the northeastern Iraqi village of Halabja, which killed over 5,000 Kurds.
In the attack, government warplanes showering Halabja for five hours with mustard gas and nerve agents in the most deadly chemical weapons attack on civilians in history.
"I have heard the news of the execution [of] the criminals whose hands [are] stained with blood. This is a happy day for the Kurdish people," Reuters quoted Iraqi Kurd Saman Faruq as saying.
Behnam Karim, another local, said, "As a Kurdish citizen I am very happy because of the decision. But I wish the decision can define Halabja's crime as a genocide."
The verdict was issued earlier in the month, prompting jubilation in Halabja, where people were seen cheering and playing music on the streets.
However, the former intelligence chief, who also held the interior and defense ministry portfolios, considered the massacre a feather in his cap.
The ruling for the attack on Halabja was the fourth death sentence Majid received.
In December 2008, he received another death sentence for war crimes committed during the 1991 Shia uprising in southern Iraq, where about 100,000 people were massacred.