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Last Pics Of Chemical Ali Before He Was Executed

PTI 26 Jan 2010, 16:01:08 PM IST

With a hood on his head and a noose round his neck, these were the final moments in the life of Chemical Ali, Saddam Hussein's brutal cousin.

The 65-year-old henchman - full name Ali Hassan al-Majeed - was hanged in Iraq yesterday for genocide and crimes against humanity.

He was sentenced for the gas attack that killed 5,000 Kurds in the town of Halabja in 1988, the atrocities that led to his nickname.

On his orders, Iraqi jets had swooped over Halabja and for five hours sprayed it with a lethal cocktail including mustard gas.

He also faced the death penalty for three other cases involving crimes against his fellow countrymen and genocide.

He could have been hanged earlier but it was seen as important that he was convicted of the Halabja attack, one of the worst of Saddam's regime.

The execution came as a wave of suicide car bombings aimed at well-known hotels in Baghdad killed more than 30 people and wounded at least 71.

It was unclear whether they were linked to the hanging.

Chemical Ali, whose military campaigns claimed tens of thousands of lives, had a reputation for ruthlessness that meant many Iraqis feared him more than Saddam.

Announcement of the execution brought relief but few celebrations from the families of his victims.

The King of Spades in the US military's pack of cards of most wanted Iraqis, he was captured in August 2003, five months after Coalition forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam.

He was sentenced to hang in June 2007 for his role in a military campaign against ethnic Kurds, codenamed Anfal, that lasted from February to August 1988.

Majeed also received a death sentence in December 2008 for his role in crushing one Shi'ite revolt after the 1991 Gulf War and another in March 2009 for his involvement in killing and displacing Shi'ite Muslims in 1999.