WASHINGTON (CN) - An Iraqi Kurd, who says he is the only survivor of Saddam Hussein's genocidal poison gas attacks, sued the Republic of Iraq for war crimes in a federal class action. Ironically, the complaint was filed on the day that Saddam's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," was hanged in Iraq for war crimes.
Taimour Ahmad, who says he testified at Saddam's 2004 trial under U.S. protection, was 12 years old in 1988 when Saddam launched a series of chemical and biological attacks against the Kurds in northern Iraq, which became known as the Anfal, or "Spoils of War."
Iraqi paramilitary forces known as Jahsh captured and deported Ahmad and his family to a prison in Kirkuk.
Ahmad says he was taken with truckloads of Kurds to a place near the Saudi Arabian border, where they were unloaded and led, blindfolded, to several 5-foot-deep pits dug into the desert.
Ahmad and his family "were tossed into the pit like cattle," and two Iraqi soldiers, armed with automatic weapons, "began shooting at the blindfolded defenseless women and children," including Ahmed and his family.
Ahmad was shot in the shoulder, he says. He ran from the pit and begged an officer to spare his life, but the officer threw him back into the pit and shot him again, Ahmad says.
Though wounded and bleeding, Ahmed lived, and waited until the soldiers stopped shooting and walked away. He says he hid in an empty pit where he watched bulldozers cover up the pits "with the bodies of his family and others around him."
Ahmed escaped the pits and was taken in by a Bedouin Arab family who risked their lives to hide his Kurdish identity.
Ahmed says he constantly fled capture until he was "saved by U.S. government personnel" just after the first Gulf War.
Years later, he says, he testified in Saddam Hussein's trail that 110 members of his extended family were missing and considered dead.
Ahmed says he no longer has any immediate family left, due to "the extreme systematic barbaric conduct" of Iraq.
Ahmed seeks damages for violation of international law, assault and battery, and infliction of emotional distress. Although the United States is not listed as a defendant, Ahmad's complaint says the United States assisted Saddam's government with money and military support.
He seeks $20 million for each member of the class. He is represented by Athan Tsimpedes.