Baghdad: Iraq has 835 people waiting to
be executed, Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said on Monday,
just days after the UN envoy to Baghdad called on the country
to abolish capital punishment.
Speaking at a news conference about anti-terrorism
measures, Bolani said Iraqi courts had convicted 14,500 people
for such offences, with an unspecified number serving life
sentences in addition to those due to be executed.
"The government is keen on providing justice," he
said, noting "14,500 criminals have been convicted, with 835
receiving death sentences and others life imprisonment."
Iraq executed 230 people from 2005 to 2009, government
spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in July, adding that, at the
time, 1,254 death sentences had been handed down.
Bolani`s remarks came after UN envoy Ad Melkert called
on the Iraqi government to abolish the death penalty, in a
speech marking International Human Rights Day on Friday.
"On this day we would like to reiterate our universal
call to refrain from carrying out the death penalty and would
encourage Iraq to consider banning this instrument as a
fundamental feature of applying justice in a new Iraq," he
said, according to a transcript of his speech.
Baghdad reintroduced the death penalty in 2004, after
a brief moratorium immediately after the US-led invasion of
2003. Those sentenced to death are usually hanged.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is an ardent
supporter of capital punishment, but President Jalal Talabani
opposes its use.