EU condemns 21 executions in Iraq; HRW claims unfair trials

The European Union and human rights groups have condemned executions carried out this week against over 20 prisoners amid continued and credible claims of unfair trials in which torture is commonly used to extract confessions.
author_image Hiwa Shilani

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The European Union and human rights groups have condemned executions carried out on Monday against over 20 prisoners amid continued and credible claims of unfair trials in which torture is commonly used to extract confessions.

"Earlier this week, twenty one individuals convicted on terrorism-related charges were reportedly executed in Nasiriyah Central Prison, also known as Al Hoot, in Iraq, read a statement.

"The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the criminal actions for which they were sentenced and expresses its sincere sympathy to any victims and their families. At the same time, the European Union recalls its opposition to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances."

The statement continued, "It represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity while any miscarriages of justice are irreversible." 

On Tuesday, New York-based Human Rights Watch said, "There is pervasive evidence of flawed terrorism trials in Iraq, which has one of the highest execution rates in the world and where defendants are routinely denied their due process rights. After many secret executions, in August 2019, authorities released Ministry of Justice data indicating that 8,022 detainees were on death row and that the state had executed over 100 that year."

Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at HRW, said, “Carrying out the death penalty is horrific. But these executions are particularly appalling given the extensive body of evidence showing how the rights of terrorism suspects are systematically ignored in Iraqi courtrooms."

"The government is undermining any shred of hope that it wanted to prioritize human rights and, like its predecessors, is choosing revenge over the rule of law.”

Editing by John J. Catherine