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Hussein Regime's 'Public Face' Gets 15-Year Jail Term

Tariq Aziz
BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, the public face of Saddam Hussein's regime, has been sentenced to 15 years jail for his role in the execution of dozens of traders for breaking state price controls in 1992.

The court also condemned Hussein's two half-brothers to death by hanging for their involvement in the same case, judged a "crime against humanity."

The verdict came less than two weeks after the same Iraqi High Tribunal acquitted Aziz of playing any role in killing and displacing Shi'ite Muslims in 1999, a trial that saw Hussein's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, receive a third death sentence.

Al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali" for his involvement in using poison gas to kill Kurdish villagers in the 1980s, was also sentenced in the trader case to 15 years.

The merchants were executed after being accused of hiking prices of key goods in breach of state price controls, when Iraq was facing UN sanctions for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.