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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2007, 13:30 GMT
Top Saddam aide sentenced to hang
Former Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan
Ramadan would be the fourth man executed over the Dujail killings
Iraq's High Tribunal has sentenced Saddam Hussein's former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan to be hanged.

He was tried alongside the former Iraqi leader over the killing of 148 Shias in the village of Dujail in the 1980s.

The trial court jailed him for life for his role, but an appeal court recommended the death penalty.

The death sentence was confirmed despite a plea by UN human rights chief Louise Arbour, who said an execution would violate international law.

Anger

Ramadan continued to maintain his innocence as the verdict was handed down.

"God knows I didn't do anything wrong," the Reuters news agency reported him as saying shortly before the judge sentenced him to death.

Allah is my supporter and will take revenge on all who treated me unjustly
Taha Yassin Ramadan

But his insistence made no impact on the final verdict.

"The condemned Taha Yassin Ramadan shall be sentenced to hanging until death for committing deliberate killing crimes," Judge Ali al-Kahachi announced to the court.

The sentence would automatically be reviewed by an appeals panel, the judge added.

Ramadan reacted angrily to the sentence, declaring: "I swear to God that I'm innocent, Allah is my supporter and will take revenge on all who treated me unjustly."

Controversial hangings

Saddam Hussein and two other key figures in his regime have already been executed.

The former president was hanged on 30 December 2006. Leaked video footage of the execution - with onlookers shouting sectarian taunts as he stood on the gallows - caused an international outcry.

Two top aides, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, were put to death last month.

Barzan was decapitated by the noose around his neck, provoking more anger among Iraq's Sunni community.

Three other men were given 15-year jail terms.




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