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Saddam received the death sentence for decades-old crime

BAGHDAD, Iraq—Saddam Hussein was executed early Saturday on charges that grew out of a harsh crackdown in the town of Dujail, where residents participated in a botched assassination attempt against him in 1982. But his hanging brought to a halt a separate trial in which he was charged with far greater offenses in a 1987-88 assault against Kurds. Other, possibly bigger cases had yet to begin.

In the Dujail trial, which began in October 2005, the Iraq Special Tribunal's prosecutor charged that Saddam and his cohorts rounded up innocent residents of Dujail, took them off to camps and killed and tortured 148 of them. In all, Saddam faced seven charges, including murder and crimes against humanity. He was convicted Nov. 5 on three of those charges—murder, forced deportation and torture. He was sentenced to death for the murder charge and received 10 years of imprisonment for each of the other two charges.

In August 2006, the tribunal began its case against Saddam and six co-defendants for Operation Anfal, a campaign against Kurds that prosecutors said killed as many as 182,000 people between 1987-88. Anfal is Arabic for "spoils" of war. Among the co-defendants is Ali Hassan al-Majid, a former Iraqi general known as "Chemical Ali." The attacks targeted Kurds seeking independence.

That case still is pending and will continue after Saddam is executed, officials said.

All seven defendants were charged with of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Saddam and Majid were also charged with genocide.

Iraqis had anticipated that Saddam would be brought before the court for several other cases, among them:

_The killing of thousands during the Iraq-Iran War.

_The invasion of Kuwait, which spurred the Persian Gulf War.

_The killing of thousands of mostly Shiite Iraqis who up rose against him in the south shortly after the Persian Gulf War.

_The scores of mass graves found throughout Iraq, which held the bodies of hundreds of Iraqis who were killed for speaking out against Saddam, trying to worship freely or opposing the regime.


(c) 2006, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.