Saddam Hussein's notorious cousin "Chemical Ali" was convicted on Sunday of crimes against humanity and received his fourth death sentence, this time for involvement in one of the worst poison gas attacks ever against civilians.
Ali Hassan al-Majid is among the last of Saddam's closest confidants still on trial for crimes committed by the former regime. The verdict met with jubilation in across Iraq, highlighting the deep-rooted hatred many Iraqis feel toward the former regime and to Chemical Ali, one of the chief architects of Saddam's repression.
Families of victims in court cheered when the judge handed down the guilty verdict in a trial for the poison gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja in 1988 that killed 5,600 people.
"I am so happy today," said Nazik Tawfiq, 45, a Kurdish woman who said she lost six of her relatives in the attack. She came to court alone to hear the sentence, and fell to her knees and began to pray upon hearing the verdict. "Now the souls of our victims will rest in peace."
Al-Majid, whose nickname comes from his role in that attack, has already received three previous death sentences for atrocities committed during Saddam's rule, particularly in the government's campaigns against the Shiites and Kurds in the late 1980s and early 1990s.