Middle East

Iraq executes six despite moratorium calls

BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities carried out six more death sentences on Monday, bringing to 23 the number of people executed in a week, defying international calls for a halt to Baghdad's use of capital punishment.

A total of 119 people have been executed by Iraq so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on public justice ministry announcements, already far outpacing 2011 when 68 people were put to death.

Executions in Iraq are normally carried out by hanging.

"The justice ministry carried out six executions against convicts against whom final verdicts were issued and approved by the presidency," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Four of the convicts had been tried on anti-terror charges, while two were found guilty of kidnappings and murders, it said.

Monday also marks the latest of several occasions that Baghdad has carried out multiple executions on a single day, and the third such example in the past week. A total of 23 people have been executed since Thursday.

The executions have sparked calls for a moratorium from the UN mission in Iraq, from Britain, the European Union and human rights group Amnesty International.

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





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