An Iraqi court has sentenced ousted leader Saddam Hussein to death by hanging for crimes against humanity, sparking celebrations in Shi'ite areas of the country.
Iraq's High Tribunal convicted Saddam today-Sunday of ordering the killing of 148 Shi'ites 24 years ago after a failed attempt to assassinate him near the village of Dujail.
As his sentence was read out, a visibly shaken Saddam yelled out "Long Live Iraq" and "God is Great." Saddam's lawyers will appeal the verdict.
In Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood, the city's largest Shi'ite community, people took to the streets to celebrate the death sentence.
In a televised address, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Saddam's eventual execution may provide comfort to families of the thousands of people killed by his regime.
The court also sentenced two of Saddam's co-defendants to death, including his half brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, and the former chief judge of Saddam's Revolutionary Court Awad Hamed al-Bander.
It also sentenced former Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan to life in prison, and three other former Ba'ath party officials were sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
The seventh co-defendant Mohammed Azawi Ali, also a Ba'ath party member, was acquitted for lack of evidence.