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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 December, 2004, 09:33 GMT
Dutchman held for 'Iraq genocide'
Iraqi chemical bombs awaiting destruction, 1998
The Iraqi regime used chemical bombs against the Kurds
Prosecutors in the Netherlands say they will charge a 62-year-old Dutchman suspected of assisting ex-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in genocide.

A spokesman for the chief prosecutor's office said the suspect had supplied Saddam Hussein with thousands of tons of base materials for chemical weapons.

The chemicals were allegedly used in the 1988 Iraqi bombing of Halabja.

It is alleged that suspect Frans van Anraat was aware of the final purpose for the base materials he supplied.

"The man is suspected of delivering thousands of tons of raw materials for chemical weapons to the former regime in Baghdad between 1984 and 1988," prosecutors said in a statement.

The notorious chemical attack on Kurds in Halabja killed an estimated 5,000 civilians. Chemical weapons were also used by the Iraqi army against Iranian forces in their 1980-1988 war.

'Major supplier'

Prosecutors said the Dutchman had been a suspect since 1989, when he was arrested in Milan, Italy, at the request of the US government. But he was later released and fled to Iraq, where he remained until 2003.

After the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, he returned to the Netherlands via Syria, the Associated Press reported.

The United Nations suspects the man was a major chemical supplier to the former Iraqi regime, having made 36 separate shipments, including mustard gas and nerve gas originating from the United States and Japan.

The chemicals where shipped via the Belgian port of Antwerp, through Aqaba in Jordan to Iraq, the prosecution statement said.

The man was arrested in Amsterdam on Monday and will be brought before a court in the town of Arnhem later this week.

Details of the arrest in the Netherlands

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