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Twelve people executed in Iraq

The Iraqi authorities executed 12 people on Sunday, according to information received by Amnesty International. The 12 are believed to be among the 128 people who were on death row. There are growing fears that more executions will follow in the coming days or weeks. The Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council confirmed to Amnesty International on 9 March 2009 that Iraq’s Presidential Council had ratified the death sentences of 128 people who had been facing imminent execution. The death sentences were originally passed by criminal courts in Baghdad, Basra and other cities and provinces on charges under Iraq’s Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism law that include murder and kidnapping, and were upheld by the Cassation Court. A spokesperson for Amnesty International expressed dismay at the executions and called for their full names to be disclosed. "Amnesty International is urging the authorities to commute all death sentences and to establish an immediate moratorium on executions," said Malcolm Smart, the Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme. "Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases."