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Startseite Urgent Actions 2010 12 39 detainees at risk of execution
UA 252/10
Abgeschlossen am 20. Januar 2011

39 detainees at risk of execution

AI-Index: MDE 14/022/2010

According to recent public statements by the Iraqi Minister of Interior, 39 untried detainees may face the death sentence in Iraq by the end of 2010, possibly without trial or fair trials.

The 39 detainees are alleged members of armed groups in Iraq. They have not yet been charged and tried. The group were paraded on 2 December before journalists, while handcuffed and clad in orange jumpsuits, at a press conference convened by the Ministry of Interior. At the press conference, the Iraqi Interior Minister, Jawad al-Bolani, ignored the presumption of innocence of the 39 suspects and declared: “Today, we will send these criminals and the investigation results to the courts that will sentence them to death. Our demand is not to delay the carrying out of the executions against these criminals [in order] to deter terrorist and criminal elements.” He added that the 39 had confessed to committing criminal offences but gave no details of how those confessions were obtained.

According to media reports Jawad al-Bolani said most of the 39 suspects had rejoined al-Qa’ida linked groups after being released from Iraqi prisons administered by the USA. Three of the suspects were named as: Hazim al-Zawi, reportedly the third-highest leader in the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Iraq’s al-Qa’ida branch; Ahmed Hussein ‘Ali, known as the "Mufti of Anbar"; and ‘AbdulRazzaq, the organization's alleged media chief.

Amnesty International fears that the confessions the 39 suspects are said to have made under interrogation may have been obtained under torture and, despite this, may be used as evidence against them at trial. Amnesty International has urged the Iraqi government to ensure that these and other detainees receive fair trials that conform to recognized international standards, and that “confessions” obtained under torture are not used in their trials.

The security situation in Iraq remains precarious and Amnesty International recognizes that the government has a duty to protect the population, including members of religious and ethnic minorities and others who have been targeted for attack by al-Qa’ida and other armed groups; however, this must be done in full conformity with human rights and the rule of law. Amnesty International has on numerous occasions strongly condemned human rights abuses committed by armed groups in Iraq.Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally as a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and continues to call on the Iraq government to end executions as a step toward complete abolition of the death penalty.

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