Capital punishment in Iraq

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Capital punishment in Iraq was commonly used by the government of Saddam Hussein; and has been since his removal from office.

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, suspended capital punishment on June 10, declaring that "the former regime used certain provisions of the penal code as a means of oppression, in violation of internationally acknowledged human rights."[1]

On August 8, 2004, capital punishment was reinstated in Iraq.[1] Iraqi law states that no person over the age of 70 can be executed, despite people like Tariq Aziz, sentenced to death at the age of 74.[2] There is an automatic right to appeal on all such sentences. Iraqi Law requires execution within 30 days of all legal avenues being exhausted. The last legal step, before the execution proceeds, is for the condemned to be handed a red card. This is completed by an official of the court with details of the judgment and a notice that execution is imminent.[3]

In September 2005, three murderers were the first people to be executed since the restoration. Then on March 9, 2006, an official of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council confirmed that Iraqi authorities had executed the first insurgents by hanging.[4]

27 people, including one woman, were executed by the Iraqi government on September 6, 2006, for high crimes against civilians.[5]

At least 285 people were sentenced to death in 2008; at least 34 were executed. In 2007, at least 199 people were sentenced to death and 33 executed, in 2006, at least 65 people were executed. The actual figures could be much higher as there are no available official statistics."[1]

There were at least 120 executions in 2009, overwhelmingly for alleged terrorist offences. More than 900 people, including 17 women, were thought to be at risk of imminent execution in Iraq at the end of 2009 - they had reportedly exhausted all forms of appeal and their death sentences were said to have been ratified by the Presidential Council.[6]

On January 19, 2012, 34 people were executed in a single day.[7] Early in October 2013, 42 people convicted of terrorism charges were hanged over the course of two days. By that date a total of 132 people had been executed in 2013.[8]

Execution of Saddam Hussein[edit]

Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging for crimes against humanity[9] on November 5, 2006, and was executed on December 30, 2006 at approximately 6:00 a.m. local time. During the drop there was an audible crack indicating that his neck was broken, a successful example of a long drop hanging.[10]

By contrast, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, the head of the Mukhabarat, Saddam's security agency, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief judge, were executed on January 15, 2007, also by the long drop method, but Barzan was decapitated by the rope at the end of his fall indicating that the drop was too long, relative to his body weight.[11]

Also, former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan had been sentenced to life in prison on November 5, 2006, but the sentence was changed to death by hanging on February 12, 2007.[12] He was the fourth and final man to be executed for the 1982 crimes against humanity on March 20, 2007. This time, the execution went smoothly and without obvious mistake or problem.[13]

At the Anfal genocide trial, Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid (aka Chemical Ali), former defense minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Tay, and former deputy Hussein Rashid Mohammed were sentenced to hang for their role in the Al-Anfal Campaign against the Kurds on June 24, 2007.[14] Al-Majid was sentenced to death three more times: once for the 1991 suppression of a Shi'a uprising along with Abdul-Ghani Abdul Ghafur on December 2, 2008;[15] once for the 1999 crackdown in the assassination of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad al-Sadr on March 2, 2009;[16] and once on January 17, 2010 for the gassing of the Kurds in 1988;[17] he was hanged on January 25.[18]

On October 26, Saddam's top minister Tariq Aziz was sentenced to hang for persecuting the members of rival Shi'a political parties.[19]

On July 14, 2011, Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Tay and two of Saddam's half-brothers -- Sabawi Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti (both condemned to death on March 11, 2009 for the role in the executions of 42 traders who were accused of manipulating food prices[20]) -- were handed over to the Iraqi authorities for execution.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Scores face execution in Iraq six years after invasion". Amnesty International USA. 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  2. ^ "Saddam May Escape Hangman's Noose". NewsMax.com. 2006-12-04. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  3. ^ "Iraq is preparing for Saddam's hanging". International Herald Tribune. 2006-12-29. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  4. ^ Capital Punishment in Iraq Seen Simply As Death, Not Justice
  5. ^ "Iraq has months to avert collapse". CNN. 2006-09-06. Retrieved 2006-09-06. 
  6. ^ Amnsety International.The death penalty in the Middle East and North Africa in 2009/
  7. ^ http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=41019
  8. ^ "Iraq hangs 42 convicted on terrorism charges". The Jordan Times. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  9. ^ "Saddam Hussein sentenced to death by hanging". CNN.com. 2006-11-05. Archived from the original on 2006-11-13. Retrieved 2006-11-05. 
  10. ^ "Saddam Hussein Hanging Video Shows Defiance, Taunts and Glee". National Ledger. 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  11. ^ AP: Saddam’s half brother and ex-official hanged January 15, 2007
  12. ^ Top Saddam aide sentenced to hang February 12, 2007
  13. ^ Saddam's former deputy hanged in Iraq March 20, 2007
  14. ^ Iraq's "Chemical Ali" sentenced to death, MSNBC.com, June 24, 2007. Retrieved on June 24, 2007.
  15. ^ Second death sentence for Iraq's 'Chemical Ali, MSNBC.com, December 2, 2008. Retrieved on December 2, 2008.
  16. ^ Iraq's 'Chemical Ali' gets 3rd death sentence, Associated Press, March 2, 2009. Retrieved on January 17, 2010.
  17. ^ 'Chemical Ali' gets a new death sentence, MSNBC.com, January 17, 2010. Retrieved on January 17, 2010.
  18. ^ "Saddam Hussein's Henchman Chemical Ali Executed". The Daily Telegraph (London). January 25, 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein's former aid, sentenced to hang in Iraq for crimes against humanity". New York Daily News. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  20. ^ "Saddam's deputy PM Tariq Aziz gets 15-year prison sentence". CBC News. March 11, 2009. 
  21. ^ al-Ansary, Khalid (15 July 2011). "U.S. turns Saddam's half-brothers over to Iraq". Reuters. Retrieved 17 July 2011.