Iraq executes 42 'terrorists', including woman, as violence worsens

BAGHDAD Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:23am EDT

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq executed 42 people, including a woman, for mass killings and other "terrorism" offences over two days this week, the justice ministry and the United Nations said on Thursday after a surge in sectarian violence.

The U.N. mission in the country said it was concerned about the executions, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, and repeated its call for Baghdad to suspend the death penalty.

Rights groups say executions have been on the rise in recent years.

Sixty-eight death sentences were carried out in 2011, according to Amnesty International. The 42 hanged this week amounted to almost a third of the total number the campaign group said were executed in all of 2012.

"The criminals were found guilty of terrorist crimes... (that) led to the deaths of dozens of innocent citizens, as well as other crimes aimed at destabilizing the security and stability of the country and causing chaos and terror among the people," Minister of Justice Hassan al-Shimary said in a statement.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in attacks across Iraq so far this year, as Sunni Islamist insurgents including al Qaeda regain momentum.

After invading Iraq in 2003, the U.S.-led interim authority suspended the death penalty, citing its use as a tool of repression under dictator Saddam Hussein, who left behind mass graves filled with thousands of bodies.

But as sectarian carnage began to take hold of the country in 2005, Iraq reinstated the punishment for those who commit "terrorist acts", as well as people who provoke, plan, finance and enable others to perpetrate them.

Kidnapping and murder, but also lesser offenses like damage to public property, in certain circumstances, are also punishable by death.

Members of Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority accuse the Shi'ite-led government that came to power after Saddam's overthrow of using the death penalty to persecute their sect.

The ministry did not announce the names of the 48 executed this week, nor their religious affiliation.

A raid by Iraqi security forces on a Sunni protest camp in April touched off a backlash by militants that is still ongoing.

At that time, Human Rights Watch said at least 50 people had been executed by Iraqi authorities during the past month and that the concurrent increase in militant attacks and executions showed the death penalty was ineffective.

(Writing by Suadad al-Salhy; Editing by Isabel Coles and Andrew Heavens)

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Comments (4)
AlkalineState wrote:
Shock and awe. That regime is looking more and more like the leader we replaced. I remember when the kurds were found to be terrorists too. Summary executions based on gut feeling. A trillion dollars to Halliburton can’t be wrong though. Bought the company a re-location to Dubai, where they can no longer be prosecuted under U.S. law :)

Mission accomplished.

Oct 10, 2013 12:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
dd606 wrote:
AlkalineState wrote:
“Shock and awe. That regime is looking more and more like the leader we replaced.”

No, they are not… And if you had ever been there, you’d realize how ridiculous that accusation is. I’ve seen mass burial sites that looked like the holocaust.

Try finding something good to say about your country just once in a while Alkaline. Even just once. Don’t worry, it won’t kill you.

Oct 10, 2013 1:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
JackHerer wrote:
Assad kills thousands in the name of fighting “terrorists.” Killing innocent kids isn’t out of bounds for Assad’s forces in his own war on terror.

Ironically Assad’s own terror, on both a vast and varied scale, far outstrips anything any terrorist organisation could ever hope to achieve. What is terrorism though, if it’s not someone who brings terror to innocents? Who is the biggest terrorist therefore if it isn’t Assad?

But, regardless, many in the West are happy to applaud Assad, a butcher of kids, as a saviour of decency because, just like the Iraq government here, he claims he is the one fighting “terrorism,” regardless of him being the one committing the atrocities.

From Putin, to the Israelis, to Obama, to Egypt, to Assad – fighting terrorism is just a guise for summary executions.

Oct 10, 2013 2:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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