Yet another death sentence for 'Chemical Ali'

Saddam Hussein's notorious cousin "Chemical Ali" has been convicted of crimes against humanity, receiving yet another death sentence for his involvement in one of the worst poison gas attacks ever against civilians – one of several he faces.

Families of victims in court cheered when the judge handed down the guilty verdict against Ali Hassan al-Majid in a trial for the poison gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988.

Al-Majid, whose nickname comes from his role in that attack, has already received three previous death sentences for atrocities committed during Saddam's rule, particularly in the government's campaigns against the Shiites and Kurds in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Other officials in Saddam's regime received jail terms for their roles in the attack.

Former Defence Minister Sultan Hashim al-Taie faces 15 years in prison, as does Iraq's former director of military intelligence, Sabir Azizi al-Douri.

Farhan Mutlaq al-Jubouri, a former top military intelligence official, was sentenced to 10 years.

The jail terms were handed down following guilty verdicts on charges that included crimes against humanity.

Nazik Tawfiq, 45, a Kurdish woman who said she lost six of her relatives in the attack came to court alone to hear the sentence. She fell to her knees and began to pray upon hearing the verdict against al-Majid.

"I am so happy," Tawfiq said. "Now the souls of our victims will rest in peace."

The killings are a particularly sore point for Iraq's Kurds. Many people in Halabja still suffer physically from the effects of the nerve and mustard gas that were unleashed on the village at the end of the Iran-Iraq War.

Some survivors feel it was unfair that Saddam was hanged for the killings of Shiites following a 1982 assassination attempt, but did not live to face justice for the Halabja attack.

An estimated 5,600 people were killed in the gassing of the town. The attack was widely seen as the biggest use of chemical weapons on civilians in history.

The man known as "Chemical Ali" was previously sentenced to hang for his role in a brutal crackdown against the Kurds in the late 1980s that killed hundreds of thousands.

Courts later issued separate death sentences for his role in the 1991 suppression of a Shiite uprising and for a 1999 crackdown that sought to quell a Shiite backlash to the slaying of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad al-Sadr.

The earlier death sentences against al-Majid have not been carried out because of a political dispute.