Monday, December 10, 2007

Help Prevent Execution of a Tortured Woman

Since 2004 when the death penalty was reinstated in Iraq, the Iraqi government is currently imposing the death penalty at a rate only surpassed by China, Iran and Pakistan. Iraq has had little experience of the rule of law. The country lacks the structures necessary to ensure fair trials therefore creating grave shortcomings in cases where the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) have imposed the death penalty. These include confessions obtained through torture and other ill-treatment, pre-trial televised "confessions", and suspects having insufficient access to lawyers.

According to Amnesty International, more than 270 people have been sentenced to death and *more than 100 executed. Iraq now figures among the countries with the highest numbers of executions reported in 2006.

The restoration of the death penalty in Iraq and its extension to additional crimes was a grave and retrograde step. More than this, it was a grievously short-sighted development, one that has contributed to, rather than helped alleviate, the continuing crisis in Iraq. What was needed in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussain’s abusive regime was a recognition of the importance of fundamental human rights and of ensuring that the new Iraq should abide by its obligations under international human rights law. Under Saddam Hussain, these obligations had been routinely, flagrantly ignored. Suspected critics and opponents of his government, and members of ethnic and other minorities, were subjected to enforced disappearance, torture, summary execution and other gross abuses, and the perpetrators had impunity. There were no fair trials and hundreds, more likely thousands, of people were sentenced to death and executed. The numbers of victims of gross human rights violations were so great that their true total will never be known.
Take a moment and call on the Prime Minister of Iraq to halt the execution of a woman forced to confess to the murder of her uncle, his wife and one of their three children when she was tortured by police.

*only cached version available

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