Amnesty International Urges Halt to Executions

All executions in Iraq must be halted immediately, Amnesty International urged after 13 men were executed in Baghdad.

The organization has been able to confirm the names of nine of the men, who were executed on 22 September following death sentences imposed after unfair trials and based on “confessions” allegedly extracted under torture. Four others were also executed that day, bringing the total number of executions in Iraq so far this year to at least 73.

“The Iraqi authorities have chosen to defy repeated calls not to execute prisoners and to rely on tainted ‘confessions’ obtained under torture. That a death sentence could be imposed after obviously grossly unfair trials beggars belief,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

Amnesty International had urged the Iraqi authorities not to carry out the executions of these nine men, and to investigate their allegations that they were tortured to coerce them into making “confessions”. The court trying them appears to have disregarded compelling medical evidence supporting these complaints, and used “confessions” inadmissible as evidence under international law – their trial fell far short of international fair trial standards.

“We again urge the Iraqi authorities to declare a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty and to commute all death sentences. They must address the flaws in the Iraqi justice system, investigate claims of torture and other ill-treatment in custody, and, where applicable, grant re-trials in full compliance with fair trial standards,” said Hassiba Hadi Sahraoui.

The nine men were among a group of 11 sentenced to death by the First Branch of Anbar Criminal Court on 8 August 2010 after it convicted them under the draconian 2005 Anti-Terrorism Law. The remaining two are reportedly still on death row.

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