More than 1,000 sentenced to death in Iraq in 8 years


By Dr Nasr Abbood, on 1 March 2012

The death penalty is a cruel punishment and its execution takes away the life of human beings that God has honoured among all creatures.
Although they have diverged on this issue, most modern legal systems have included the death penalty.
In Iraq, the provisional authority set up during the US occupation abolished capital punishment by ministerial decree No7 on 10 June 2003.
However, the security situation since then, including the rise of violence and growing numbers of murders and abductions of innocent civilians, has led the Council of Ministers to take a new decree (No 8/08/2004) to reinstate the death penalty to punish those guilty of serious crimes against Iraq’s security, the life of its children, and the future of its next generations and its economy.
That decision was justified by Iraq’s circumstances at the time and the need to protect  security, human rights and human lives.
Capital crimes were re-established as in the 1969 Penal Code No111 modified as follows:

  • attacks on the security of the State;
  • offences causing harm to the general public or using bacteriological products;
  • attacks on the security of means of transportation and communication;
  • homicides;
  • drug trafficking;
  • kidnapping;
  • terrorism.

Anti-terror Act

The Anti-terror Act No13 of 2005 extended the scope of the death penalty to new offences regarded as serious because of the damage they cause against national unity, public order and stability.
Article 4 of that law punishes the perpetrators or accomplices of the following terrorism offences by death:

  • violence and threats spreading terror among the population;
  • premeditated destruction or devastation of public buildings, compounds or services;
  • organisation, formation or command of an armed group;
  • attack on the armed forces;
  • armed attack with terrorist motivation against embassies and diplomatic representations;
  • kidnapping or false imprisonment;
  • use of explosive or incendiary devices or sites to provoke death.

We, the Iraqi, Arab and World Coalitions Against the Death Penalty oppose the death penalty under all circumstances and any form. We disagree with such legislation and we demand that alternatives be found to the death penalty.
We also denounce the Iraqi government’s discriminatory policy, which uses the death penalty with an ethnic or religious bias.
That penalty is imposed on a majority of innocent people from a different religion to that of those in government and whose confessions have been obtained through violence, terror, physical and moral torture, by investigators and magistrates belonging to the same community as the government.
Meanwhile, the real criminals and the members of their militias are free on the streets and engage in pillage, corruption and terrorism.
Some 1145 people have now been sentenced to death and many of them have been executed – the highest number ever recorded in modern history.
Most of those people have been accused on the basis of hearsay and confessions obtained through intimidation and torture.
Iraqi prisons are in many cases secret or underground, and they are filled with dozens of thousands of innocent people.
We are calling on the international community and all its organisations, led by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty,  to take a firm stance against such human rights abuses in Iraq.

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