AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch appeals court raised the prison sentence of a Dutch businessman to 17 years after confirming on Wednesday he was guilty of complicity in war crimes for selling chemicals to Iraq used in deadly gas attacks.
Frans Van Anraat was sentenced in 2005 to 15 years in prison for complicity in war crimes for supplying raw materials that were used to make poison gas by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the 1980-1988 war with Iran.
The poison gas was also used against Iraq’s own Kurdish population, including an attack on the town of Halabja in 1988 which killed an estimated 5,000 people.
Van Anraat had appealed against the sentence but the court turned down his appeal and increased the sentence by two years.
“The court decided to increase the jail sentence because Van Anraat committed these crimes several times, not just once, out of pure greed,” the spokeswoman for the appeals court in The Hague said.
In the appeals trial, prosecutors tried to raise charges of genocide against Van Anraat for the second time.
Van Anraat was acquitted of genocide charges in 2005, and the court acquitted him again, because it could not be proven he knew exactly how the chemicals would be used, a spokeswoman said.
An Iraqi prosecutor last December showed the court trying Saddam an internal memo from the president’s office which praised van Anraat for supplying Iraq “with rare and banned chemical weapons.”
In a magazine interview in 2003, van Anraat admitted to supplying the chemicals but denied knowing they were destined for Iraq and that they would be used to make poison gas.
Prosecutors have said he shipped chemicals from the United States to Belgium and from Belgium to Iraq via Jordan. He also shipped chemicals from Japan to Italy, and then overland to Iraq.
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