Iraq PM seeks to speed up death penalty implementation
BAGHDAD - Iraq's prime minister is seeking to speed up the implementation of death sentences, his office said Saturday, despite persistent concerns over flaws in the judicial system that hands them down.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered the formation of a committee "to determine the obstacles and causes that result in the delay in the implementation of death sentences," a statement said.
The committee is to make recommendations to "speed up the ratification of those sentences and their implementation," it said.
Iraq has for years faced widespread criticism from diplomats, analysts and human rights groups who have said that, due to a flawed justice system, those being executed are not necessarily guilty of the crimes for which they were sentenced to die.
Following a bombing in Baghdad that killed nearly 300 people earlier this month, the justice ministry announced that five people had been put to death in a statement linking the timing of the executions with the blast.
Rights group Amnesty International subsequently repeated calls for a halt to executions in the country, saying that more than 100 had been carried out so far in Iraq this year.
"Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to halt executions," it said.
"Death sentences are frequently handed out by courts following grossly unfair trials marred by the use of 'confessions' extracted under torture," Amnesty said.