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Former deputy PM Tariq Aziz sentenced to death by Iraqi court

An Iraqi court handed one of Saddam Hussein's most prominent officials, former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz (pictured), the death penalty on Tuesday for the persecution of Islamic parties, state media reported.


AFP - Iraq's supreme criminal court sentenced former deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz to death on Tuesday, state television reported, the first death sentence handed down against the longtime international face of the Saddam Hussein regime.

"The supreme criminal court issued an execution order against Tareq Aziz for his role in eliminating religious parties," the television reported.

It said that the court also ordered death sentences against two other top Saddam lieutenants, former interior minister Saadoun Shaker and Abid Hamoud, the executed dictator's secretary.

All three were sentenced for their roles in a crackdown on members of Iraq's Shiite majority community that followed a 1991 uprising against Saddam.

By law, the sentences have to be confirmed by the presidential council before being carried out.

In 2009, Aziz was jailed for 15 years for the 1992 execution of 42 Baghdad wholesalers and separately given a seven-year term for his role in expelling Kurds from Iraq's north. He pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Among Saddam's few surviving top cohorts, Aziz turned himself in to US forces in April 2003, days after the fall of Baghdad. He was named foreign minister in 1983 and then deputy prime minister in 1991.

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