Former Saddam official sentenced to death for marsh draining

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 - 17:48

Baghdad: A senior official in the Baath Party
of now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death
for the draining of the country`s marshlands in the 1990s, the
Iraqi court that tried him said on Tuesday.

"The Iraqi High Criminal Court has sentenced Mezban Khadar
Hadi to death," a court statement said.
Hadi was a member of the Revolutionary Command Council,
the most powerful body during Saddam`s rule. He was arrested
following the US-led invasion in March 2003, and was the nine
of hearts in the deck of cards released by the Americans to
identify the top officials in Saddam`s regime.

The court handed down several other verdicts against
former Saddam officials yesterday, sentencing Abdul Ghani
Abdul Ghafoor to life imprisonment.

Ghafoor, another senior member of Saddam`s now-banned
Baath Party, was previously sentenced to death in December
2008 for his role in the violent repression of Iraqi Shiite
Muslims in 1991 following the Gulf War.

The court dropped charges against Watban Ibrahim
al-Hassan, the executed dictator`s half-brother, for lack of
evidence.
The court, set up to prosecute members of Saddam`s regime,
also sentenced former defence minister Sultan Hashim to 15
years in prison, while 28 others received sentences of between
seven and 15 years.

The draining of the marshes, considered by some to be the
location of the Biblical Garden of Eden, was carried out by
Saddam in a bid to flush out Shiite rebels hiding out in the
sprawling network of waterways.

Iraq`s southern marshes had been home to a unique culture
for centuries before Saddam`s crackdown turned much of it to
desert. Programmes to re-flood the marshlands since the
dictator`s fall have seen only limited success in restoring
lost habitats.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 - 17:48

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