Iraq government urged to seize assets of Saddam cronies

Iraq government urged to seize assets of Saddam cronies
Iraq's Accountability and Justice Committee advises the prime minister's office to seize assets linked to dozens of Baathists.
2 min read
04 March, 2018
Protesters have demonstrated against corruption in Iraq (AFP)
The Iraqi government has been urged to seize the assets of dozens of relatives and cronies of executed dictator Saddam Hussein, in a letter seen Sunday by AFP.

The letter from the Accountability and Justice Committee was sent to the prime minister's office as well as to the ministries of finance, justice and agriculture.

It lists Saddam-era government ministers and officials from his Baath Party, including some who are in prison, who have been executed or have died, as well as the names of their wives, children, grandchildren and other relatives.

Among those named is Ali Hassan al-Majid, a cousin of Saddam better known as "Chemical Ali", who was hanged in 2010 for ordering the 1988 gassing of thousands of Kurds.

Tareq Aziz, a veteran foreign minister who held the post of deputy prime minister before Saddam was ousted in the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq, is also named in the letter.

Sentenced to death in 2013, Aziz, the only Christian in Saddam's inner circle, died two years later in prison.

His son Ziad, who lives in Jordan, condemned the letter as nothing more than "a stunt to win votes" in Iraq's May 12 legislative election.

"We've been subjected to pressure and injustice for 15 years, it's enough," he told AFP in a telephone interview. "When will the spite of this so-called government end?"

Ziad Aziz denied his family had any assets, saying his father's house in Baghdad had already been seized by prominent Shiite politician Ammar al-Hakim.

In February, Iraqi authorities published lists of names of people wanted on suspicion of belonging to the Baath Party, the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda.

It included the name of Saddam's daughter Raghad, who lives in Jordan.