ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Central Criminal Court in Baghdad on Monday sentenced to death by hanging a ‘senior terrorist’ who was involved in murdering a Russian diplomat in the country in 2006.
“The Central Criminal Court sentenced to death a terrorist convicted of the murder of a Russian diplomat in Iraq in 2006,” Judge Abdul Sattar Biraqdar, spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, said in a statement.
He explained the suspect had confessed to kidnapping four foreigners while wielding a deadly weapon, adding that “two of the victims were shot to death while the other two were beheaded.”
Biraqdar noted that the man was tried under the anti-terrorism law, which reserves the death penalty for anyone found guilty of committing acts of terror.
“The terrorist was involved in the slaughter of a Russian diplomat and those accompanying him. With the help of his armed group, he then dumped the victims’ bodies in the Tigris river,” the spokesman revealed. An al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq at the time took responsibility for the attack.
Despite the UN’s concerns, Iraqi courts continue to issue the death penalty for many Islamic State (IS) members who have been arrested over the past few years.
In the past year, Iraq has executed dozens of IS members. Iraqi courts recently sentenced 212 people to death in Mosul and surrounding areas, most of them for membership to the extremist group.
International humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations, say efforts by Iraqi authorities to speed up the implementation of death sentences could lead to the execution of innocent people.
Last year, Iraqi forces arrested tens of thousands of those accused of being IS members and affiliates, most of whom still await sentencing.
The death penalty in Iraq was suspended on June 10, 2003, but was reinstated the following year.
Editing by Nadia Riva