Iraq: 11 face imminent execution
Warning against “wholesale” executions
Amnesty International has issued an urgent appeal on behalf of 11 people in Iraq who are reportedly facing imminent execution.
The human rights organisation is appealing to the Iraqi authorities to prevent the executions going ahead, and is also calling on them to impose an immediate moratorium on executions until they have abolished the death penalty completely.
According to the Iraqi news agency Aswat al-Iraq, 11 people in Iraq are facing imminent execution after the Court of Cassation upheld their death sentences, which will now be passed to the Presidential Council for ratification. The only hope for the eleven is for the Presidential Council to refuse to ratify their sentences, or for the president to pardon them.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
“After the squalid spectacle of Saddam Hussain’s execution late last year, it’s alarming and disheartening that Iraq is seeking to execute prisoners wholesale.
“Unfair trials are all too common in Iraq and the last thing the courts should be doing is imposing capital punishment.
“The Iraqi government should be doing its utmost to reinforce respect for life. It could start by imposing an immediate moratorium on all executions.”
According to Aswat al-Iraq, the 11 have been convicted of various criminal offences including murder, murder followed by robbery, and kidnapping. They were sentenced to death by criminal courts in Baghdad, Basra, and in the provinces of Diwaniya, Dhi Qar and Ninewa. No further information is currently available.
Since the reintroduction of the death penalty in Iraq in August 2004, hundreds of people have been sentenced to death and there has been a rapid rise in the frequency of executions in the country.
At least 65 people were put to death in 2006 alone - the fourth highest of any country in the world - many of them after unfair trials. So far in 2007 at least 171 people have been sentenced to death and 33 have been executed.
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