An Iraqi court has sentenced ousted president Saddam Hussein to death by hanging for crimes against humanity. The high court ruled the former leader was guilty of ordering the killing of one hundred forty-eight Shiites twenty-four years ago. As the sentence was read, Saddam Hussein yelled, "Long live Iraq", and "God is great". His lawyers say they will appeal the court decision. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the execution of Saddam Hussein might ease the pain of the families of people killed during his rule. The Bush administration has welcomed the death sentence for Saddam. Mr Bush spoke hours after he was sentenced. He said the trial is an important victory for Iraq. He also said that Saddam will continue to receive the legal rights he denied Iraqis under his rule.