Oct 5 2013
By Tamara Abdulrazzaq
Azzaman, October 5, 2013
Twenty three people were executed in Iraq last week, a statement by the Justice Ministry said.
The statement, quoting Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari, said the executions took place following lengthy court proceedings and appeals by the convicts.
The charges were mainly centered on committing terror attacks but three of them were executed for their part in robbing a bank in Baghdad.
The statement said trials took a long time and more than 30 judges were involved in deliberations before reaching a verdict.
It said twenty of those executed were sentenced to death under the country’s anti-terrorism act.
The controversial law has been a bone of contention between the Muslim Shiite-led government and Muslim Sunnis who have been protesting against it and calling for drastic amendments.
Last week’s executions bring the number of those put death this year to 103.
Capital punishment was annulled in Iraq shortly after the American invasion of 2003 but was re-introduced a year later by the country’s interim government.
And soon executions started taking place, earning Iraq the title of one of the Middle East’s cruelest states.
Last year 129 people were put to death in Iraq and the justice ministry says more than 1,500 prisoners have been sentenced to death by Iraqi courts and they await presidential decrees to have them executed.
The surge in executions in Iraq has sparked an outcry from international human rights groups.
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