Iraq’s ‘Anthrax Lady’ faces 15 years in prison
The 63-year-old Huda Ammash, who is out of the country, found guilty of corruption
The Iraqi biologist and member of the national leadership of Baath party Huda Ammash was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for embezzling public funds.
The sentence was issued by the criminal court dealing with integrity cases.
“Ammash exploited her career when she occupied the post of Deputy Minister of Education in the era of the former regime, and acquired five vehicles belonging to the ministry without permission,” as per the Investigation Department of the Integrity Commission.
The 63-year-old Huda, is the daughter of Salih Mahdi Ammash, a senior official in the Iraqi Ba’ath Party, who served as defense minister in 1963, Deputy Prime Minister in 1968, and finally as an Ambassador of Iraq in 1977. It is believed that he may have been executed under the personal orders of Saddam Hussein in 1981.
Huda Ammash is also known as the ‘Anthrax Lady’, a title she earned thanks to her credentials in biology. She also has a Biology degree from the University of Iraq, beside a master's degree in microbiology and a doctorate from the American University of Missouri.
On the ‘wanted’ list
After the invasion by US forces in 2003, Huda was number 53 out of the 55 wanted Iraqis by US forces, and the only woman on that list. She was accused of trying to resurrect Iraq's nuclear program after the second Gulf war.
Ammash was trained by Nasser al-Hindawi, who US officials described as the “godfather of the Iraqi biological weapons program.”
Ammash is currently battling breast cancer, believed to have been caused by exposure to radiation.
She was arrested by US forces in 2003, and released in 2005 along with seven others from the key players in Saddam Hussein's regime, for lack of evidence about their involvement in war crimes. Following that, she left Iraq.
Over the past years, the Iraqi judiciary has issued various sentences against senior officials of Saddam Hussein's regime in the successive governments in Iraq after 2003, including ministers, leaders and executives.
So far, Baghdad has not been able to extradite them from their host countries.
*This article also appears on AlArabiya.net.