ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq's Justice Ministry announced on Monday that it had executed 13 convicted prisoners, 11 of them over charges of terrorism, despite ongoing international calls to stop the death penalty in Iraq.
“Eleven convicts were accused of crimes such as car bombings, the killing of security members, and kidnappings,” the Justice Ministry statement read, but gave no indication of what the two non-terrorism related charges were.
The statement also did not specify dates, locations, or other details of crimes those executed had been convicted of.
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.
The ministry emphasized its commitment to “implement the law without being affected by any pressures.”
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.
The executions are the ones announced since the beginning of the year by Iraq's government, which according to rights group Amnesty International, put at least 111 people to death in 2017.
On Dec. 15, 38 prisoners were hanged in a Nasiriyah prison, under Iraq’s anti-terrorism law. In September, 42 other prisoners were hanged at the same jail.
Last year, Iraqi forces arrested tens of thousands of those accused of being Islamic State (IS) members and affiliates. Many them have been sentenced to death and await execution on death row.
Editing by John J. Catherine