21 people in Iraq were executed for being convicted of terror-related charges, including 3 women within 1 day. For the record, there were already 91 convicted people in Iraq alone. 65 of them were put to death in the first 40 days of 2012.
Despite a call from the UN’s human rights chief for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in Iraq, the execution continued amid concerns over the lack of transparency in court proceedings.
Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch told the press, “Our main concern is what were these people actually convicted of? Terrorism does not tell us very much.”
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay uttered alarm and dismay earlier this year at the number of executions, criticizing the lack of transparency in court proceedings and calling for an immediate suspension of the death penalty.
“Even if the most scrupulous fair trial standards were observed, this would be a terrifying number of executions to take place in a single day,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said. She urged the country to halt executions, expressing concern about the transparency of court proceedings and the fairness of the judicial process.
The ministry also publicized that it released 625 inmates on Monday from detention facilities across Iraq, indicating that the prisoners had completed their sentences. This should have been a good news.
Last June, Amnesty International also condemned the “alarming” increase in executions in Iraq. It also called on authorities to “refrain from using the death penalty, commute the sentences of all those on death row, believed to number several hundred, and declare a moratorium on executions.”
On Tuesday, 6 Iraqi security force members were killed by gunmen in 2 shootings that targeted checkpoints. In the al-Wazirya neighborhood of northeastern Baghdad, gunmen shot dead two Iraqi soldiers, authorities said. Gunmen also attacked an army checkpoint in al-Mashahda, an area north of Baghdad, with small arms fire. 4 Iraqi soldiers were killed.
Executions were halted after Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003 but reintroduced in 2004 by Iraqi authorities who said the death penalty was needed to contest a wave of sectarian bloodshed and attacks by insurgents.