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September 1st, 2009 - No End to Iraq ‘Torture and Deaths’

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No End to Iraq ‘Torture and Deaths’


From the Press Association

September 1, 2009


Dreams that the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime would see the end of torture and killings in Iraq have "all but faded to nothing", according to Amnesty International.


More than 1,000 prisoners are still facing the death penalty, the human rights organisation said.


The Amnesty said the country's "ramshackle justice system can barely cope with ordinary crimes never mind capital offences".


It called for an "immediate moratorium" on all executions and said hundreds of people were still facing "a grisly death at the end of a rope".


Amnesty said Saddam's execution in December 2006, filmed and widely circulated on the internet, was a "graphic reminder of the grotesque brutality" of his regime.


"Many Iraqis who had been traumatised by his policies hoped and expected that a new chapter would be opened in which human rights would be respected and upheld, and that torture, killings and the death penalty would remain only as a bad memory of the past," it said.


"Six years on (from the fall of the regime in 2003), as an estimated 1,000 prisoners face the prospect of execution, that dream has all but faded to nothing."


Amnesty said the Iraqi government had widened both the scope and application of the death penalty since it was restored in August 2004, and the punishment could now be used for "a wide range of offences", from murder to the membership and support of armed groups.


Of the more than 1,000 prisoners facing the death penalty in Iraq, some 150 have exhausted all means of appeal or clemency and are at "immediate risk of death", Amnesty said.


Amnesty added the country's use of the death penalty "lacks transparency", its trials "consistently fall short of international standards" and defendants "commonly complain that 'confessions' were extracted from them under torture". It also said it was "disappointed" that Iraq's Human Rights Minister Dr Wajdan Mikhail Salam advocates the death penalty.


Copyright © 2009 The Press Association.


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