[JURIST] Iraqi prosecutors Monday sought the death penalty for Ali Hassan al-Majid [JURIST news archive; BBC profile], the cousin of Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] known to Western media as "Chemical Ali" for allegedly using poisonous gas to clear Kurdish villages in the 1980s. Al-Majid is facing charges in a genocide trial [JURIST news archive; BBC trial timeline] based on the Saddam regime's involvement in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Kurds by using nerve agents and mustard gas during the so-called "Anfal" campaign [HRW backgrounder].
Al-Majid is now the leading defendant [JURIST report] in the trial following Saddam's execution [JURIST report] last year. He and five remaining were on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity; al-Majid is also individually charged with genocide as the mastermind behind the gassing. He has admitted in court [JURIST report] that he gave orders for the destruction and relocation of thousands of Kurds, but says the victims were guerrillas who sympathized with Iran during the Iran-Iraq war [Wikipedia backgrounder] in the 1980s. Reuters has more.
04/02/07 - Wire services say that prosecutors pressed for the hanging of four of the six defendants but urged the release of one for lack of evidence.