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Iraq executions follow apparently unfair trials

Twenty-eight people have been executed in Iraq this week following what appear to have been hasty and unfair trials. Those executed were arrested in clashes that took place in the past three weeks. Amnesty International has said that, for them to be arrested, sentenced and executed within such a short period raises serious concerns about the trial process. The organization has called on the Iraqi authorities to disclose all relevant information about these trials, including whether those executed had access to legal representation or not. "The circumstances of these executions make it urgent for the Iraqi authorities to establish a moratorium on the death penalty," Amnesty International said today. Amnesty International has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the trials conducted by criminal courts in Iraq, and whose procedures fall short of international standards for fair trials. "The Iraqi government argues that reinstating capital punishment would curb the widespread violence in the country," said Amnesty International. "The reality, however, is that violence has continued unabated and the death penalty has not been a deterrent." The death penalty is being used extensively since its reintroduction in 2004 and hundreds of people have been sentenced to death after grossly unfair trials. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a violation of the right to life and as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.