BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraq’s High Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced to death three Saddam Hussein-era spies convicted of assassinating the father of a sitting Iraqi lawmaker in Beirut in April 1994.
“The court sentences to death Hadi Hassuni, Abdul Hassan al-Majid and Farukh Hijazi, who were agents of the intelligence services,” tribunal spokesman Mohammed Abdul Saheb told AFP.
Two other men, military intelligence chief Saber Duri and Saddam’s secretary Abdul Hamid Mahmoud, were sentenced to life imprisonment at the conclusion of the trial, which began in October 2009.
Sabawi Ibrahim Hassan, the executed dictator’s half-brother, and Saddam’s deputy prime minister Tareq Aziz were acquitted in the trial.
The convictions came over the murder of Sheikh Taleb al-Suhail al-Tamimi, head of the Banu Tamim tribe, who fled Iraq for the Lebanese capital with his family after a Baath Party coup in 1968.
He later attempted his own coup against Saddam, who rose to power in 1979, but was gunned down outside his Beirut home on April 14, 1994.
Lebanon severed its ties with Iraq in the aftermath of the killing, but arrested five Iraqi diplomats and one Lebanese accomplice over the assassination.
All but one were released without charge, with one diplomat having died in prison in Lebanon.
The other four diplomats later returned to Iraq only to flee after the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam.
Tamimi’s daughter, Safia al-Suhail, has been an Iraqi lawmaker since 2005. She was elected to the Council of Representatives in March 2010 polls as part of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s slate, but is now an independent lawmaker.
“I am satisfied because I have expected this decision for 15 years, but at the same time I will continue my fight to bring to justice those who managed to escape and take refuge abroad,” Suhail told AFP by telephone.