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Saddam's Cousin, 14 Others on Trial for Suppressing 1991 Revolt

A cousin of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and 14 others have gone on trial in Baghdad in connection with the brutal suppression of a 1991 Shi'ite uprising.

The cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali," has already been sentenced to death in a separate trial for his role in chemical attacks on Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s. Two other defendants in this trial have also been sentenced to death for attacks on Kurdish villagers. All three are appealing the sentences.

At Tuesday's proceedings, the chief judge opened the trial by telling the defendants they are charged with crimes against humanity for attacks against civilians.

Prosecutors say up to 100,000 people were killed when Saddam's forces crushed the Shi'ite rebellion that followed the Persian Gulf War.

Witnesses testified today about how Iraqi troops killed their family members. Some also bitterly criticized the United States for not coming to their rescue.

Iraqi Shi'ites in the south and Kurds in the north rose up against Saddam in the weeks after his troops were driven from Kuwait by a U.S.-led coalition. The U.S. created a safe haven for Kurds in the north.

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush had encouraged the Iraqi people to topple Saddam after the 1991 war. But, he said he did not order a full-scale U.S. invasion of Iraq because he feared it would lead to the break-up of the Iraqi state.

In other news Tuesday from Iraq, gunmen opened fire on a family in the village of Muwelha, south of Baghdad, killing seven people.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.


 

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