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Rights Group: 'Chemical Ali' Linked to Basra Massacre


A U.S.-based human rights group says recently gathered information could lead to new charges against a notorious former Iraqi general who is accused of ordering the 1988 massacre of Kurds in northern Iraq.

In a report issued Thursday, Human Rights Watch says the new information implicates Ali Hassan al-Majid - known as "Chemical Ali" - in the execution of hundreds of Shi'ite Muslims during an uprising in the southern city of Basra in 1999.

Iraqi officials say they expect Chemical Ali to be among the first of several top lieutenants of Saddam Hussein's regime to go on trial for a range of crimes, including crimes against humanity and genocide.

In December, Iraq's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said the trials of top officials of the ousted regime would begin within weeks. But so far, no trial dates have been set.

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