Iraq has hanged 42 prisoners convicted of terrorism-related charges, including a woman, the Justice Ministry said Thursday, in Baghdad\’s latest use of capital punishment despite international appeals to have it abolished.
"The justice ministry carried out, during the past week of this month, death sentences for 42 convicts, among them one woman, all of them convicted of terrorism crimes," the ministry said in a statement on its website.
The statement was accompanied by a photo of a noose on a black background, a reference to the way in which executions in Iraq are usually carried out.
The ministry did not specify the exact dates of the executions, but the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said they took place "between October 8 and 9."
"UNAMI reiterates its call on the government of Iraq to adopt a moratorium on the implementation of all death sentences," it said in a statement.
The latest executions bring the number of people who have been put to death in Iraq this year to at least 132, compared to 129 executions in all of 2012, according to an tally by the AFP news agency based on reports from the justice ministry and officials.
Iraq executed 23 people in two days last month, 20 of them convicted on terrorism charges, the justice ministry said on October 1.
The growing resort to the death penalty comes as violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008. More than 230 people have been killed so far this month, and more than 4,900 since the beginning of the year, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources.
The executions have drawn widespread condemnation from the European Union, the United Nations and human rights groups.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said this year that Iraq\’s criminal justice system was "not functioning adequately."
She highlighted "numerous convictions based on confessions obtained under torture and ill-treatment, a weak judiciary and trial proceedings that fall short of international standards."
But Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari insisted on Thursday that the executions were carried out only after an exhaustive legal process.
The death sentences "were appealed more than one time before appeals court judges to prove the accuracy of the sentences," Shammari said in the statement.
Source: AFP and agencies