Iraq, one of the countries with the most death sentences in the world, on Monday executed 21 of its nationals convicted of “terrorism”. The country, OPEC’s second oil producer, ravaged for nearly two decades by attacks and a radical Sunni insurgency, is regularly singled out by human rights defenders.
Activists accuse the justice system of obtaining confessions under “torture” and regularly call on Iraq to stop carrying out the death penalty. In vain. In 2019, 100 convicts, most of them for “terrorism”, were executed, or more than one in seven executions around the world, according to Amnesty International.
Hundreds of executions since 2017
On Monday, the 21 men, all convicted of recent or several years old “terrorism” offenses, were hanged in Nassiriya central prison, according to medical and police sources.
The penitentiary in this southern city, Iraq’s only death row, is nicknamed “al-Hout” (the whale) because when you enter it, you only come out dead, the condemned explain ironically. Ahead of Monday’s executions, at least seven other death row inmates were executed in Nasiriya in 2020, the same sources said.
Since the announcement by Iraq at the end of 2017 of victory against the Islamic State (IS) group, the latest avatar of jihadism in this country of approximately 40 million inhabitants, the country’s courts have ordered hundreds of death sentences, against Iraqis and foreigners, men and women.
In addition, many families accused of links to ISIS continue to crowd into camps for the displaced, fearing legal action if they return to their villages. For human rights defenders, some of these camps are like open-air prisons.
Once the death penalty has been pronounced, it is then up to the President of the Republic, the Kurdish Barham Saleh, to ratify the execution decrees. This was again the case for the 21 convicted on Monday, police sources said. These sentences, along with hundreds of life sentences, were imposed under a penal code that provides until death for anyone who has joined “a terrorist group”, whether or not they have fought in its ranks.
So far, none of the IS foreigners sentenced to death have been hanged, but eleven French people and one Belgian are currently awaiting execution in Iraq.
Iraq is the fourth most executing country in the world, behind China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty International, which recorded 657 executions worldwide in 2019. This total figure is the lowest recorded by the NGO for at least a decade.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr