Iraq: 28 people executed after what seems to be hasty and unfair trials

The execution of 28 people this week following what appears to be hasty and unfair trials makes it urgent for the Iraqi authorities to establish a moratorium on the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.

“Those executed were arrested in clashes that took place in the past three weeks. For them to be arrested, sentenced and executed within such a short period raises serious concerns about the trial process,” said Amnesty International. “The Iraqi authorities must disclose all relevant information about these trials, including whether those executed had access to legal representation or not.”

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 argued in 2004 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 has been 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.