On Monday, March 9, the Iraqi government announced to Amnesty International that 128 death sentences have been ratified, and that executions would commence soon at the rate of 20 per week. Exactly who these 128 people are, what crimes they have been condemned for, or how imminent these executions are is not known. It is also now known how many of these prisoners facing execution might have been transferred to Iraqi authorities from US custody following the Status of Forces Agreement that came into effect at the beginning of this year.
What is known is that Iraqi trials do not always conform to international fair trial standards.
Ironically, a moratorium on executions was in place in Iraq while it was under US occupation, but that came to an end in August of 2004. It is not known how many executions have taken place since then (at least 65 in 2006, at least 33 in 2007 and at least 34 in 2008). By any measure, 128 executions, or 20 executions a week, would be a disturbing demonstration of enthusiasm for state killing in a country trying to recover from years of violent upheaval.
Please urge Iraqi authorities to commute these death sentences and reinstate the moratorium on executions.