An Iraqi court has sentenced former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan to death for his role in the killing of 148 Shi'ites from the town of Dujail in the 1980's.

The High Court in Baghdad sentenced Ramadan to death by hanging Monday. He was vice president in Saddam Hussein's ousted government.

Ramadan had been sentenced to life in prison in November, but an appeals court recommended that he receive the death penalty and referred the case back to the trial court for a final decision.

Saddam and two other top former officials have already been hanged for their role in the Dujail killings.

United Nations officials and international human rights groups have appealed for Ramadan's life to be spared.

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