ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Since the beginning of the year, over 300 suspects have been handed death sentences in Iraq courts for crimes related to membership in the Islamic State (IS), said judicial officials on Wednesday.
The cases, being heard in federal courts in Baghdad and Nineveh provinces, also resulted in several hundred lesser sentences, including life imprisonment.
At trials held in the nation's capital, the death penalty has been ordered for 103 foreign nationals, including six from Turkey who were sentenced on Wednesday, and 185 life sentences, a judicial source told the media.
Also on Wednesday, Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdul Sattar al-Birqdar said in a statement that, at a court outside Mosul in Nineveh province, 212 people have been sentenced to death, 150 to life in prison, and 341 to lesser jail terms.
The rise of executions in the country has led the UN mission in Iraq, the EU, and international human rights groups to criticize Iraq for a lack of transparency in its courts.
"These executions follow rushed trials of ISIS suspects which are riddled with due process violations, including convictions based solely on confessions which are sometimes extracted by torture," said HRW senior Iraq researcher Belkis Wille in a press release on Tuesday.
The death penalty in Iraq was suspended on June 10, 2003, but was reinstated the following year. Critics say that the country's flawed and confession-based criminal justice system in which torture is routinely used to extract confessions is incompatible with so final a sentence as capital punishment.
Wille continued, "Iraq's mishandling of the ISIS trials not only denies victims real justice, but also risks sending innocent Iraqis to their deaths."
Iraq's Justice Ministry announced on Monday that it had executed 13 convicted prisoners, 11 of them over charges of terrorism.
The executions are the first ones announced in 2018 by Iraq's government, which according to rights group Amnesty International, put at least 111 people to death in 2017.
Last year, Iraqi forces arrested tens of thousands of those accused of being Islamic State (IS) members and affiliates, most of whom await sentencing.
Editing by John J. Catherine