HUNDREDS FACING EXECUTION IN IRAQ

   
Index: MDE 14/037/2009 Issue Date: 03 December 2009  
URGENT ACTION   UA 324/09
hundreds facing execution in iraq  
IRAQ  
       

The Iraqi authorities are preparing to execute hundreds of prisoners, including 17 women. They have exhausted all their appeals, and could be put to death at any time.

 More than 900 people, including 17 women, are currently reported to be on death row in Iraq and to have exhausted all forms of appeal. Their death sentences are said to have been ratified by the Presidential Council, meaning that they could be executed at any time.

At least 120 people are known to have been executed so far in 2009, and it appears that the Iraqi authorities intend to carry out these executions in advance of national elections scheduled for January (although these elections are now likely to be delayed) despite national and international pressure against the use of the death penalty in Iraq. The condemned prisoners have been convicted of offences such as murder and kidnapping, but many of them are likely to have been sentenced after unfair trials.

The 17 women are likely to include a group who had been awaiting execution at the 5th section (al-Shu’ba al-Khamissa) of Baghdad’s al-Kadhimiya Prison. They were the subject of UA 195/09, MDE 14/019/2009, 21 July 2009.

Iraqi press reports suggest that the government wants to present itself as being tough on crime and capable of overcoming the difficult security situation in the country before the national elections in 2010. Opposition politicians have expressed concern that executions may be carried out to allow the ruling party to gain political advantage ahead of the elections, and have called on the government to temporarily suspend all executions.

ADditional Information

Since the reintroduction of the death penalty in August 2004, at least 1,000 people have been sentenced to death and scores have been executed. There are no official figures for the number of prisoners facing execution or the number of executions that are carried out. So far in 2009 at least 120 people have been executed. After all avenues of appeal have been exhausted, death sentences are referred to the Presidential Council, composed of the President and the two Vice-Presidents, for ratification, after which they are carried out. The President, Jalal Talabani, opposes the death penalty and delegates his ratification powers to the two Vice-Presidents, who do not oppose the use of the death penalty. Once their death sentences have been ratified by the Presidential Council, condemned prisoners can be executed at any time.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or your own language:

– Expressing concern that hundreds of people are facing imminent execution

– Urging the authorities to put an immediate stop to these executions and commute all death sentences

– Urging them to establish an immediate moratorium on executions

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 14 JANUARY 2010. Thank you.

 Write TO THE IRAQI EMBASSY OR DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATIVE IN YOUR COUNTRY, ASKING FOR THEM TO BE FORWARDED TO:

 Ambassade de la République d’Irak,

Elfenstrasse 6,

3006 Berne.

Fax: 031 351 83 12

E-mail: irak-Ambassy@gmx.ch

President;

Jalal Talabani;

Salutation: Your Excellency

 Vice-President;

Tariq al-Hashimi;

Salutation: Your Excellency

 Vice-President;

‘Adil ‘Abdul Mahdi;

Salutation: Your Excellency

 And copies to

 Prime Minister;

Nuri Kamil al-Maliki

 Ambassade de la République d’Irak,

Elfenstrasse 6,

3006 Berne.

Fax: 031 351 83 12

E-mail: irak-Ambassy@gmx.ch

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