Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and two of his co-defendants on Sunday were sentenced to death by a tribunal for their role in the killing of 148 people.
Immediately after the sentence, violence broke out in Baghdad’s Sunni-dominated Azamiya district. Defying curfew, thousands of Mr. Hussein’s supporters took to the streets in his hometown Tikrit.
Judge Rauf Abdel Rahman ordered Mr. Hussein to stand as he read out the verdict. Mr. Hussein refused to do so and court attendants moved him from his seat.
As the judge began reading the sentence, Mr. Hussein shouted: “Allahu Akbar” and “Long live Iraq! Long live the Iraqi people! Down with the traitors!”
He then denounced the court and the American occupation of Iraq.
Mr. Hussein and his seven co-defendants faced trial over the killing of 148 people from the mainly Shia village of Dujail. The deaths followed an assassination attempt on Mr. Hussein in 1982.
The judge also sentenced to death Barzan Al Tikriti, Mr. Hussein’s military intelligence chief, and Awad Hamad Al Bandar, a former chief judge. Taha Yassin Ramadan, vice-president in the deposed government, was awarded life imprisonment.
Three former Baath party officials were sentenced to 15 years, while one of the co-accused was acquitted.
A nine-member appeals panel will now automatically review the death sentences and other verdicts.
No timeframe has been set to conclude the appeal process but executions will have to take place within 30 days in case the panel upholds the death sentences.