BAGHDAD -- Deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity Sunday, bringing to an end the first trial examining the alleged crimes of the former regime.
A theatrical, yearlong televised odyssey dogged by questions of legitimacy, Hussein, 69, was sentenced to death by hanging, but capital and life sentences in Iraq are automatically appealed.
The nine-judge appellate court begins hearing arguments within a month of the sentence, and could deliberate for an unlimited time - months or even years.
Sentences must be carried out within a month after the final appeal is exhausted.
The ousted president, visibly shaken, chanted: "Long live the people. Long live the Arab nation. Down with the agents. Down with the occupier." He also said "God is great" over and over again.
Hussein and seven co-defendants stood trial for crimes allegedly committed against the Shiite villagers of Dujayl, a small farming town where the former president was the target of a 1982 assassination attempt.