Amnesty International reports that the Iraqi government plans to execute as many as 128 people in the next couple of weeks.
They have condemned the decision and are urging the Iraqi justice minister to intervene.
It is claimed that the prisoner’s names, the details of the charges made against them, their current place of detention and dates of arrest, trial and appeal have yet to be made public. It is understood they will be executed in batches of 20 each week beginning in the next few days
The rationale behind capital punishment is that it deters criminals and lowers the crime rate. Campaigners point out that this has not been the case, with crime remaining at extremely high levels since the death penalty was reintroduced in 2004.
Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme Director Malcolm Smart said: “many attacks are perpetrated by suicide bombers who, clearly, are unlikely to be deterred by the threat of execution.”
The Iraqi courts have resorted to capital punishment more often in recent years. While official statistics on executions are not kept, it can be said with certainty that as many as 285 people were sentenced to death in 2008, with 34 of those being executed. Of the 199 sentenced to death in 2007, 33 were executed, and at least 56 people were put to death in 2006.
Amnesty is concerned with every human right and is not only outraged by the use of capital punishment, but concerned that the prisoners were not granted a fair and full trial by the Iraqi courts.
To write a letter to the Iraqi president Jalal Talabani: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=579