"Chemical Ali" first of Saddam associates to go on trial Bernard Hibbitts at 9:38 AM ET
[JURIST] Iraq's Defense Minister said Wednesday that Ali Hassan al-Majid, known in the West as "Chemical Ali" for his alleged responsibility for gassing Kurds in northern Iraq in the late 1980s, will be the first of Saddam Hussein's top aides to go on trial, possibly as early as next week and certainly by January. Ali was captured by US forces in Iraq in August 2003 after several prior reports had circulated of his death in a Coalition bombing raid on Basra. All the evidence and witnesses for his trial are said to be already in place. Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan said the Iraqi government wanted Majid and other Saddam aides to have lawyers - Iraqis or others - to defend them. Reuters has more. Human Rights Watch and other rights groups have repeatedly called for Ali's prosecution.
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