Source: Tehran Times
A Dutch court on Wednesday ordered a businessman convicted of selling Saddam Hussein raw materials for mustard gas to pay compensation to 16 Iranian and Iraqi victims of chemical weapon attacks by the former Iraqi dictator's regime, according to the Associated Press.
Iraqi forces killed this Kurdish woman and child with poison gas in Halabja, 1998.
Photo by Ramazan Ozturk/Sipa Press.
Iran's representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Kazem Gharibabadi, said on the same day that of the survivors who had filed a lawsuit against Hans van Anraat, who is serving a prison sentence for selling the chemicals, 13 people were Iranian.
"I am of course very happy that the judgment is finally in our favor," AP quoted Rebas Kadir, the only victim in court, as saying.
"For us it was very important that it sent a message that something like this should not and cannot happen," he said.
Kadir was just 4 years old when he survived Saddam's notorious 1988 attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja in Iraq in which an estimated 5,600 civilians were killed. His parents, brother and sister died and he was left with badly damaged lungs that make even day-to-day activities like climbing a flight of stairs tough.
Saddam, then Iraq's dictator, ordered the Halabja attack as part of a scorched-earth campaign to crush a Kurdish rebellion in the north.
Van Anraat, who was not in court, was ordered to pay each survivor €25,000 ($32,475).
He was Iraq's sole supplier of TDG, or thiodiglycol, for its mustard gas production program. His lawyer, Hans Vermeer, said Wednesday that Van Anraat believed the chemical was to be used in the Iraqi textile industry.
Judges rejected that argument at his 2005 trial and said he knew the chemicals might well be used for war crimes, but sold more than 1,000 tons to Saddam anyway, motivated by greed. Van Anraat continued selling the chemicals even after learning of the Halabja attack.
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