Saddam's officials get 15 years

The country's top court sentences the former deputy premier Tareq Aziz and Saddam Hussein's hatchet man "Chemical Ali" Hassan al Majid.

(FILES) -- A combo of pool pictures shows former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tarek Aziz (R) testifying for the defence during the trial of Iraq's executed president Saddam Hussein in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on May 24, 2006 and Saddam Hussein's hatchetman "Chemical Ali" Hassan al-Majid (L), sitting on July 1, 2004 in front of an Iraqi judge during his initial interview at an undisclosed location in Baghdad. The Iraqi High Tribunal is due to give verdicts on March 11, 2009 for Majid and Aziz in the 1992 murders of 42 traders. The two men and six other defendants have been charged with crimes against humanity in a trial that opened in April last year. They risk the death penalty if found guilty.  AFP PHOTO/POOL/MARCO DI LAURO/KAREN BALLARD *** Local Caption ***  Nic346782.jpg
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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