Taha Yassin Ramadan in court in July 2006 (epa)
February 12, 2007 -- The Iraqi High Tribunal has raised the sentence against Saddam Hussein's vice president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, to death by hanging.
Ramadan was sentenced in November to life in prison for crimes against humanity after being convicted with Hussein and several others for their roles in the killing of 148 Shi'a in the town of Al-Dujayl in the 1980s.
An appeals court recommended Ramadan receive the death penalty, and had referred the case back to the High Tribunal for a final decision.
"God knows I didn't do anything wrong," Ramadan said shortly before hearing the sentence.
If the ruling is upheld on appeal, Ramadan will be the fourth to face capital punishment. Hussein and two co-defendants have all been hanged.
Iraqi authorities have faced criticism over their handling of those executions, after a leaked video showed Hussein being taunted on the gallows, and another convict's head was severed during his hanging.
The United States today urged Iraq to follow the right execution procedures for Ramadan.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and international rights groups have appealed for Ramadan's life to be spared.
New York-based Human Rights Watch says there was a lack of evidence tying Ramadan to the Al-Dujayl killings.
A protester in Baghdad carries a picture of a relative killed at Al-Dujayl (AFP file photo)
Former Iraqi dictator SADDAM HUSSEIN
and seven of his associates went on trial on October 19, 2005, on charges of crimes against humanity for the regime's role in the deaths of 148 residents from the town of Al-Dujayl, and the imprisonment of 1,500 others following a botched assassination attempt against Hussein there on July 8, 1982. Following the arrests and deportations, the regime leveled the town... (more)
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