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Tariq Aziz Convicted of Crimes Against Kurds

Iraq's former foreign minister Tariq Aziz (File Photo)
Iraq's former foreign minister Tariq Aziz (File Photo)

An Iraqi court has convicted former foreign minister Tariq Aziz for crimes against Shi'ite Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war, and sentenced him to 10-years in prison.

Court officials say Aziz was spared the death penalty on Monday because he had a lesser involvement in the atrocities than some of his co-conspirators.

At least two other Saddam era loyalists were sentenced on Monday to death in the same case, while charges against four others were dropped or dismissed.

Last month, Iraq's top criminal court sentenced Aziz to die by hanging for his role in the persecution of Shi'ite political parties in Iraq. But Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says he will not ratify the execution order.

Aziz was charged with helping to kill, imprison or exile leaders of the Islamic Dawa party of current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The 74-year-old Aziz is already serving a 15-year prison sentence for the execution of 42 merchants in 1992. He was sentenced to another seven years for the forced displacement of Kurds in northern Iraq.

Aziz has said he is guilty of nothing more than being a loyalist and that he personally committed no crime. He surrendered to U.S. troops in 2003.

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

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