x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Iraq executes 12 amid international disquiet

Iraqi authorities announce the execution of a dozen men convicted of terrorism, defying widespread international condemnation of the country's use of the death penalty.

BAGHDAD // Iraqi authorities announced the execution of a dozen terrorism convicts yesterday, defying widespread international condemnation of the country’s use of the death penalty.

The latest executions, carried out on Sunday, bring the number of people put to death by Iraq this year to about 144, compared to 129 last year.

The prisoners executed on Sunday were all Iraqi men, a justice ministry official said, but gave no further details.

Executions in Iraq, usually hangings, have risen this year despite persistent international criticism urging an Iraqi moratorium on capital punishment.

In a statement issued on World Day Against the Death Penalty last month, the justice ministry said it had executed 42 convicts in one week.

The executions have drawn condemnation from the European Union, the United Nations and rights groups.

Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief, said this year that Iraq’s criminal justice system was not functioning adequately.

She highlighted “numerous convictions based on confessions obtained under torture and ill-treatment, a weak judiciary and trial proceedings that fall short of international standards”.

But the Iraqi justice minister, Hassan Al Shammari, insisted the executions went ahead only after an exhaustive legal process.

* Agence France-Presse