Saturday, April 21, 2007

Amnesty: Iraq 4th-highest in use of death penalty

The death penalty was widely used under Saddam Hussein, and 114 crimes carried the ultimate sanction. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, suspended capital punishment, declaring that "the former regime used certain provisions of the penal code as a means of oppression, in violation of internationally acknowledged human rights." But the U.S.-appointed interim government revived the death penalty that August for a smaller set of violent crimes, as well as drug trafficking.

LONDON (Reuters) - Iraq's use of the death penalty has risen rapidly since it was reinstated in mid-2004 and it now ranks as the country with the fourth-highest rate of executions in the world, Amnesty International said on Friday.

The London-based human rights group said in a report that Iraq had sentenced more than 270 people to death since sovereignty was handed back to the Iraqis by the Americans in mid-2004. Of those, at least 100 have so far been executed.

"Iraq now figures among the countries with the highest numbers of executions reported in 2006," the group said. "Higher totals were recorded only in China, Iran and Pakistan."

Related Link:
Human Rights Minister: Iraq wants to abolish death penalty