Saddam Aide Aziz Handed The Death Sentence

One of Saddam Hussein's closest aides, former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, has been sentenced to death by the central criminal court in Baghdad.

(SKY)

One of Saddam Hussein's closest aides, former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, has been sentenced to death by the central criminal court in Baghdad.

He was ordered to be hanged after being found guilty of "eliminating religious parties", according to the court's media office.

Aziz was charged with taking part in a campaign against members of the Dawa Party, of which Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is a member.

Aziz was a member of Iraqi dictator Saddam's inner circle The court also handed death sentences to two other top Saddam lieutenants, former interior minister Saadoun Shaker and Abid Hamoud, the dictator's secretary.

All three were sentenced for their roles in a crackdown on members of Iraq's Shiite majority community following a Shiite uprising against Saddam in after the 1991 Gulf War.

By law the sentences have to be confirmed by the presidential council before being carried out.

In 2009, Aziz was jailed for 15 years for the execution of 42 Baghdad wholesalers in 1992.

He was also given a separate seven-year sentence for his role in expelling Kurds from northern Iraq. He denied all the charges.

Tariq Aziz, former Iraqi foreign minister and deputy prime minister speaks to the Associated Press in Baghdad. Aziz, a prominent member of Saddam Hussein's inner circle, told the FBI that the dictator "delighted" inthe 1998 terrorist bombings of two US embassies in East Africa but had no interest in partnering with Osama bin Laden, declassified documents show.

Aziz turned himself in to US forces in April 2003, days after the fall of Baghdad.

He was appointed foreign minister in 1983 and then deputy prime minister in 1991.

He went on to become the international face of Saddam's regime.