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Iraq Court Sentences Tariq Aziz to Death, Iraqiya Says

Tariq Aziz and two more of Saddam Hussein’s top aides were sentenced to hang by an Iraqi high court, al-Iraqiya television channel said.

Aziz, a former deputy prime minister and foreign minister, was found guilty by the High Criminal Court “in the case of the liquidation of members of religious parties,” according to the judgement.

The court also sentenced Abed Hmood and Saadoon Shaker to death by hanging for the same crimes, according to the National Iraqi News Agency. Hmood was the personal secretary of Saddam Hussein while Shaker was interior minister and member of the regime’s Revolutionary Command Council.

In March 2009, Aziz was sentenced to 15 years in prison for crimes against humanity in the killing of Baghdad merchants in the 1990s.

Aziz was the 8 of spades in a deck of cards issued by the U.S. to portray the most-wanted members of the Saddam Hussein regime after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted his regime in 2003.

Aziz surrendered to U.S. forces about a month after the start of the 2003 invasion. His house was ransacked and his personal belongings destroyed by the mob during the invasion.

He was held in a U.S. prison until being handed over to the Iraqi authorities in July as U.S. forces started a phased military pullout. Aziz was frequently treated for heart problems while in jail.

Members of the former regime were jailed or became wanted for atrocities during the Saddam Hussein rule. Saddam Hussein and a number of aides have since been convicted by Iraqi justice courts and executed by hanging.

Aziz, a 74-year-old Chaldean Catholic Christian, was for a long time the regime’s interlocutor with the international community.

Shortly before the 2003 invasion, Aziz travelled on a last-ditch mission to meet the Pope at the Vatican in a failed attempt to prevent the war.

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