March, 12 2009
Amnesty International today called for the immediate intervention of Iraq’s Justice Minister to stop the execution of 128 prisoners on death row, amid reports that the authorities are planning to start executing them in batches of up to 20 starting next week.
“The Iraqi government said in 2004 that reinstating capital punishment would curb widespread violence in the country. The reality, however, is that violence has continued at extremely high levels and the death penalty has yet again been shown to be no deterrent,” said Malcolm Smart, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme. “In fact, many attacks are perpetrated by suicide bombers who, clearly, are unlikely to be deterred by the threat of execution.”
On 9 March 2009, the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council informed Amnesty International that Iraq’s Presidential Council (comprising the President and the two Vice-Presidents) had ratified the death sentences of 128 people whose sentences had already been confirmed by the Cassation Court. The authorities are said to be planning to carry out the executions in batches of 20 per week.