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Responding to an Associated Press report that Iraqi authorities have detained or imprisoned at least 19,000 people accused of links to the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) or other terror-related offenses, and sentenced more than 3,000 of them to death, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said: 

“We are deeply alarmed by this report and the Iraqi authorities’ mass use of the death penalty and the courts’ reliance on torture-tainted “confessions” to secure convictions.

“Amnesty International has documented the flawed screening process by Iraqi forces to which men and boys fleeing areas of conflict have been subjected. Thousands of them have been arbitrarily arrested, forcibly disappeared, and routinely subjected to torture and horrific conditions in detention. It is vital therefore that all those detained are held in officially recognized and supervised detention facilities.

“The Iraqi authorities must immediately address serious flaws in the criminal justice system and institute effective safeguards against torture and enforced disappearance, and ensure all defendants are given a fair trial, including the right to legal representation. They must implement an immediate moratorium on executions as a first step towards total abolition of the death penalty.”