Thursday, February 9, 2012
Human Rights Watch sounds alarm over executions in Iraq
Human Rights Watch has sounded the alarm about a mounting number of executions in Iraq. Since the beginning of 2012, Iraq has executed at least 65 prisoners, 51 of them in January, and 14 more on February 8, for various offenses, the organisation says.
Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned that Iraqi courts admit as evidence confessions obtained under coercion. The government should disclose the identities, locations, and status of all prisoners on death row, the crimes for which they have been convicted, court records for their being charged, tried, and sentenced, and details of any impending executions, HRW says.
A Justice Ministry official confirmed to HRW on February 8 that authorities had executed 14 prisoners earlier in the day. “You should expect more executions in the coming days and weeks,” the official added.
According to the United Nations, more than 1,200 people are believed to have been sentenced to death in Iraq since 2004. The number of prisoners executed during that period has not been revealed publicly. Iraqi law authorizes the death penalty for close to 50 crimes, including terrorism, kidnapping, and murder, but also including such offenses as damage to public property.