Iraq: another spike in executions with 38 people hanged in last four days

‘The increasing use of the death penalty in Iraq will only fuel more violence’ - Said Boumedouha
Reports have emerged today of 12 secret executions carried out by the Iraqi authorities, bringing the number of prisoners put to death in the country since the weekend to 38, Amnesty International said today. 
Yesterday the Iraqi Ministry of Justice issued a statement confirming that the authorities had executed 26 men two days earlier - on Sunday. One of these was Adel al-Mashehadani, who was said by the Ministry of Justice to have carried out a number of sectarian attacks. Amnesty has separately confirmed through independent sources that at least 12 further men have also been executed. 
The organisation has also learnt that the Iraqi president’s office has ratified around 200 cases of people sentenced to death, paving the way for these executions to be carried out. In Iraq, all judicially-confirmed death sentences need to be ratified by the presidency before they can be implemented. 
Most of those hanged in this latest spike of executions - all Iraqi men - were convicted on charges of terrorism under the country’s draconian 2005 Anti-Terrorism Law. Amnesty fears that the Iraqi authorities may be using the current violence in al-Anbar governorate to speed up executions to demonstrate their efforts to protect civilians against attacks by armed groups. 
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Said Boumedouha said: 
“The increasing use of the death penalty in Iraq will only fuel more violence as many of those executed are often convicted after grossly unfair trials. 
“The only way to deal effectively with the security threats faced by the country is for the Iraqi authorities to address their deeply flawed justice system, in which ‘confessions’ extracted under torture are used as evidence in court and the execution of prisoners is routine.” 
These latest executions come less than a week after the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the Iraqi authorities to put a moratorium on executions during a visit to Iraq. This call was rejected by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who said in a joint press conference that the authorities “do not believe that the rights of someone who kills people must be respected.”

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