independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Iraq hangs 42 after terror trials

Women walk past the aftermath of a car bomb attack in Baghdad. (AP)

Iraq has hanged 42 prisoners convicted of terrorism-related charges, including a woman, the Justice Ministry said as Baghdad continued to ignore international appeals to abolish capital punishment.

With violence mounting since April, the government defends the death penalty as a way to face down insurgents trying to destabilise the country. More than 5,000 people have been killed over the past six months, including nearly 200 so far in October.

Human rights groups have questioned trial procedures in Iraqi courts, alleging that some verdicts are based on testimony obtained by torture or forced statements against the accused.

The ministry said all 42 executed over the past two days were Iraqis convicted of "terrorist crimes, killing dozens of innocents in addition to other crimes aimed at destabilising the country, causing chaos and spreading horror."

Judges had reviewed sentences and verdicts, it said.

Hours after the Justice Ministry statement, the UN mission to Iraq, UNAMI, renewed its call "to adopt a moratorium on the implementation of all death sentences,".

In 2011, Iraq was ranked fourth among the world's top five executioners after China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US, according to the London-based group Amnesty International. So far, it has executed 132 people this year.

AP

Press Association

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