28 prisoners at risk of imminent execution in Iraq
Iraq has already executed at least 129 people this year
Amnesty International is calling on the Iraqi authorities to halt the execution of 28 prisoners whose death sentences were reportedly ratified yesterday.
Death sentences for 28 people accused of terrorism-related offences were reportedly ratified by one of Iraq’s vice-presidents, the last step in the judicial process. They are at risk of imminent execution. Earlier this month it was reported that around 40 death row prisoners were transferred to al-Kadhemiya Prison in Baghdad where executions are carried out.
Meanwhile, last week Amnesty urged the Iraqi authorities to quash death sentences against four men sentenced on 3 December in Anbar province, western Iraq, following the broadcast of “confessions” given while reportedly being tortured in pre-trial detention.
Iraq has already executed at least 129 people in 2012, the highest number since 2005. As in previous years, it’s estimated that hundreds have been sentenced to death or had death sentences upheld by the courts.
Amnesty is calling on the Iraqi authorities to impose an immediate moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said:
“Death sentences are being flung out after grossly unfair trials relying on ‘confessions’ obtained under torture.
“Instead of carrying out executions, the Iraqi authorities should prioritise fixing its deeply flawed criminal justice system.”
Since the death penalty was reintroduced in Iraq in 2004, the death sentence and executions has been imposed and carried out extensively, following procedures that violate human rights standards. Many trials of those sentenced to death have failed to meet international standards for fair trials, including by using “confessions” obtained under torture or other ill-treatment as evidence against the defendants. Some Iraqi television stations continue to broadcast self-incriminating testimonies of detainees even before the opening of a trial, undermining the fundamental right of defendants to be considered innocent until proven guilty.
Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, as a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. More than two-thirds of the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.