21 men executed in Iraq for terrorism
BAGHDAD — Iraq has executed 21 prisoners convicted of terrorism charges and links to al-Qaida, the Justice Ministry said on Wednesday, setting off fresh criticism from a human rights expert about Baghdad's insistence on enforcing capital punishment.
The prisoners were executed by hanging in the Iraqi capital on Tuesday, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website. All the convicts were Iraqi al-Qaida operatives who were involved in bombings, car bomb attacks and assassinations, the statement said.
The hangings brought the number of prisoners executed in Iraq so far this year to 50, according to Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim. The latest group was the biggest this year, Ibrahim added.
According to the London-based Amnesty International, Iraq ranked fourth among the top five executioners in the world in 2011, after China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Last year, Iraq executed 129 people, triggering concerns among rights groups over whether defendants had received fair trials.
After the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, coalition officials suspended Iraq's death penalty, but it was reinstated in 2004 by Iraq's transitional government. Since 2005, Iraq's government has executed 422 people, including women and foreigners convicted on terrorism charges.
Erin Evers, a Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the number of those executed and the timing of the latest announcement are cause for concern.
The country has experienced intensifying violence in recent weeks, some of it directly related to the elections, in an apparent attempt by terrorists to derail the voting. On Monday, at least 55 people were killed in a wave of bombings and other killings across the nation.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.