The Iraqi High Tribunal has sentenced to death Tariq Aziz, a former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister who was part of the inner circle of the former President, Saddam Hussein.

“The supreme criminal court issued an execution order against Tariq Aziz for his role in eliminating religious parties,” Iraq's state television reported.

Judge Mohammed Abdul-Sahib, a spokesman for the Iraqi High Tribunal, explained Mr. Aziz was sentenced for committing crimes against humanity. “The charge of elimination of religious parties was classified as crimes against humanity,” he observed. He added that the crimes committed include “wilful killing, torture and the enforced disappearance of persons”.Tuesday's death sentence follows Mr. Aziz's conviction for the execution of 42 Iraqi merchants. Consequently, he was jailed for 15 years in March 2009. He was also convicted for the forced displacement of Kurds.

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