Amnesty International on Friday condemned the "alarming" increase in executions in Iraq, which has put at least 70 people to death this year, and urged Baghdad to stop using the death penalty Amnesty's comment came after Iraq executed the fromer secretary and body guard of Saddam Hussein, Abed Hamid Mahmoud, also known as Abed Hamoud, by hanging.
killing of Abed Hamoud is part of an alarming escalation in executions
in Iraq and we fear others may soon face the same fate," said Hassiba
Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty
Abed Hamoud was number four on the US list of most-wanted Iraqi officials following the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. He
was arrested in June 2003 by American forces and sentenced to death in
October 2010 by the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (SICT), together
with former government ministers Tariq Aziz and Saadoun Shakir, for their part in the crackdown on opposition forces, mainly Shiites. Tariq Aziz and Saadoun Shakir are among those facing imminent execution.
"The Iraqi authorities should 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," Hassiba Hadj Sharaoui said.
International has repeatedly expressed concern about trials conducted
before the SICT, which has a mandate to prosecute those accused of
crimes committed under Saddam Hussain. Its independence as a court of law has been undermined by repeated political interference.
The death penalty was suspended in Iraq after the US-led invasion in
2003 but restored in August 2004. Since then, hundreds of people have
been sentenced to death and many have been executed. According to
Amnesty International information, in 2011 at least 68 people were
executed in Iraq in total.