Saturday, June 9, 2012

Amnesty speaks out against increase in executions in Iraq

 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.
"The 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 International.
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.

Abed Hamoun is the man behind Saddam Hussein. Left of him Tareq Aziz. (AP)

"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.
Amnesty 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.

No comments: