Saddam Hussein’s notorious cousin “Chemical Ali” was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging on Sunday for ordering the gassing of Kurds in 1988, killing more than 5,000 in an air raid thought to be the worst single attack of its kind on civilians.
It was Ali Hassan al-Majid’s fourth death sentence for crimes against humanity in Iraq. The previous three have not been carried out, in part because survivors of the poison gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja wanted to have their case against al-Majid heard.
Relatives of Halabja victims cheered in the courtroom when chief judge Aboud Mustafa handed down the guilty verdict against al-Majid, one of the chief architects of Saddam’s repression.
Nazik Tawfiq, a 45-year-old Kurdish woman who said she lost six relatives in the attack, fell to her knees upon hearing the verdict to offer a prayer of thanks.
“I am so happy today,” she said. “Now the souls of our victims will rest in peace.”