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Responding to the execution on Monday of 21 individuals in Iraq, including individuals allegedly affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) and convicted of terror-related charges, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

“It is high time the Iraqi authorities put an end to executing people. Retaliatory executions not only fail to deliver justice to the victims and to their families, they serve to reinforce perceptions of partial justice, at a time when the authorities are quiet in regards to other serious violations such as torture and enforced disappearances that are still taking place across the country.

“At a time when the authorities are pressing ahead to close the chapter of the conflict with IS, they should ensure they are not doing so by perpetuating the sort of actions that have been highlighted as the seeds of previous cycles of violence – which yesterday’s tragic execution is a stark example of.” 

Background 

Since the end of the military operation to retake areas under IS control three years ago, Iraqi courts have sentenced and tried scores of individuals for suspected affiliation with IS in unfair trials, often resulting in the death penalty, and in many cases sentences were based on so-called “confessions” extracted under torture.

Last year, Iraq ranked fourth among countries that carry out executions, with the number of recorded executions almost doubling between 2018 and 2019.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to execute the prisoner. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life; it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

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