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Iraq executes 14 in one day, 65 this year

Iraq executed 14 people on a single day this week, most of them al Qaeda members.

Baghdad: Iraq executed 14 people on a single
day this week, most of them al Qaeda members, a senior justice
ministry official said on Wednesday, bringing to at least 65
the number of executions so far this year.

"Fourteen Iraqis were executed yesterday (Tuesday)," the
official said, asking not to be named. "They were convicted of
terrorism and other crimes committed in 2006 and 2007."
"Most of them are from al Qaeda, among them the wali
(leader) of Mosul," the official said.

That brings the number of people executed in the first
six weeks of this year close to the total of 68 for all of

Iraq executed 17 people on January 31, Justice Minister
Hassan al-Shammari was quoted in a statement as saying.
And last month, ministry spokesman Haidar al-Saadi said
Iraq had so far executed 34 people this year, including two
women and a Syrian.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has
expressed shock at the number of executions, criticising the
lack of transparency in court proceedings and calling for an
immediate suspension of the death penalty.

"I call on the government of Iraq to implement an
immediate moratorium on the institution of the death penalty,"
she said.

"Even if the most scrupulous fair trial standards were
observed, this would be a terrifying number of executions to
take place in a single day," said Pillay, a South African high
court judge.


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