Ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on Sunday was sentenced to death by hanging for crimes against humanity, the judge declared. Saddam will be executed for his role in the killing of 148 Shi'ite villagers following an assassination attempt on his life in 1982.
"Long live the people and death to their enemies. Long live the glorious nation, and death to its enemies!," Saddam yelled out. During Sunday's hearing, Saddam initially refused the chief judge's order to rise; two bailiffs lifted the ousted ruler to his feet and he remained standing through the sentencing.
Saddam urged Iraqis on Sunday to reject the sectarian violence and to "not take revenge" on U.S. forces, his chief lawyer said after the ousted leader was sentenced to death. "The message from President Saddam to his people came during a meeting in Baghdad this morning, just before the so-called Iraqi court issued its verdict in his trial," Khalil al-Dulaimi told The Associated Press.
Before the session started, one of Saddam's lawyers, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, was ejected from the courtroom after handing the judge a memorandum in which he called the trial a travesty. Chief Judge Raouf Abdul-Rahman pointed to Clark and said in English, "Get out. "
Former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan was sentenced on Sunday to life in prison. Prosecutors had recommended death for Ramadan.
Meanwhile, three Baath Party officials on the trial with Saddam Hussein were sentenced to 15 years in jail for willfull killing. The judge also sentenced them to seven years each for torture but they will serve the sentences concurrently.
In Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, 1,000 people defied the curfew and carried pictures of the city's favorite son through the streets. Some declared the court a product of the U.S. "occupation forces" and condemned the verdict.