PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 14/015/2009
28 May 2009
UA 134/09 Death penalty/Fear of imminent execution
IRAQ 12 people, names not known
According to Iraqi media citing a spokesman from the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council, 12 people under
sentence of death had their sentences upheld by the Cassation Court. Their cases will be referred to Iraq’s
Presidential Council for ratification, after which they could be executed at any time.
No further details were given except that 10 of those facing execution were sentenced to death by al-Najaf
criminal court under Article 1(4) of the 2005 Anti-Terrorism Law and two others were sentenced to death by
Babel and Basra criminal courts for murder.
The death penalty was suspended in 2003 while Iraq was under occupation by a US-led coalition. However,
since its reintroduction by the Iraqi government in August 2004, hundreds of people have been sentenced to
death and scores have been executed. At least 65 people were put to death in 2006 alone, many of them
after unfair trials.
In 2007 at least 199 people were sentenced to death and 33 were executed, and in 2008 at least 285
people were sentenced to death and at least 34 executed. The totals could be much higher as there are no
official figures for the number of prisoners facing execution and the Iraqi press's reporting of death sentences
is erratic at best. The Presidential Council, which ratifies death sentences, is composed of the President and
the two Vice-Presidents.
On 9 March 2009 the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council confirmed to Amnesty International that Iraq’s
Presidential Council had ratified the death sentences of 128 people, 12 of whom were executed on 3 May.
On 6 May 2009 the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Assistance
Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) issued a statement expressing concern at the execution of the 12 people on 3 May
and urging the Iraqi authorities to implement a moratorium on executions.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own
- expressing concerns at reports that the Cassation Court has upheld the death sentences imposed on 12
- requesting details of their full names and the charges against them;
- urging the authorities to commute these and all other death sentences;
- calling on them to establish a moratorium on executions.