Former Iraqi VP Taha Yassin Ramadan, seen testifying at Saddam Hussein's 2006 trial, was executed Tuesday. ((Jamal Nasrallah/ Associated Press))

A former Iraqi leaderwas hanged on Tuesday morningforkilling148 Shia Muslims in 1982, a government official confirmed.

Taha Yassin Ramadan, vice-president underthen IraqiPresident Saddam Hussein, was the fourth official to be executed in connection with the killings.

Saddam was hanged Dec. 30 for his role in the deaths, whilehis half-brother, who served as Iraq's intelligence chief, was hanged in January. The former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court was also hanged the same month.

The Iraqi government official who confirmed Ramadan's death did not want to be identified.

Ramadan, knownas Saddam's enforcer,was convicted in November of murder, forced deportation and torture. The charges are in connection with the massacre of 148 people in the northern town of Dujail.

The killings were revenge for an assassination attempt on Saddam's life that occurred in Dujail.

Ramadan was initially sentenced to life in prison, but an Appeals Court ruled that the sentence was too lenient and demanded it be changed to death. Ramadan, accused of beinga ruthless leader, has maintained his innocence, saying his duties were limited to economic affairs, not security issues.

Human rights organizations, like Human Rights Watch and the International Center for Transitional Justice, opposed the sentence and said there was too little evidence against Ramadan to justify such a stiff penalty.

The execution of all four former leaders sparked protestsfrom Sunni Muslims. The leaders were part of the Baathist party, which was supported largely by Sunnis.

Saddam's executiontriggered particular outrage.A cellphone video recording of the hanging showed Saddam being taunted moments before his death.

With files from the Associated Press