Iraq: 17 Executed Ahead of Amnesty Law

The question of Iraqi detentions took another serious turn today as authorities announced the execution of 17 individuals. For years the government has held many innocent Iraqis in jail. Some of them may see freedom soon, but for those targeted by the government for political reasons, an quick resolution may only come through the death penalty.

So far this year, the Iraqi government has executed at least 51 people. Although the Justice Ministry claims the condemned were punished within the law, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and Amnesty International have expressed concerns that fair trials are rare but forced confessions are the norm. Another 12 may have been executed in December.

A new amnesty law is to go into effect next Tuesday. It will allow for the release of Iraqis who did not commit serious crimes. The law may not have helped those executed this month as it exempts those accused of terrorism. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had fought the new law.

Separately, the Ministry of Human Rights said it would send a team to investigate the detention of two of Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi’s female staffers. The women were apparently arrested without proper warrants and fear for their safety. Hashemi, meanwhile, is avoiding his own arrest by remaining in Kurdistan until conditions for his return are met.

At least nine Iraqis were killed and 16 more were wounded in new attacks.

In Baghdad, a roadside bomb targeting a lawmaker wounded five people. Six people were wounded during a blast in the Harthiya neighborhood.

An I.E.D. blast killed two civilians and wounded two others in Sada Bawiza.

Two soldiers were killed during a clash in Hadbaa.

Gunmen attacked a Zanjili checkpoint left one policeman dead and another wounded.

In Mosul, gunmen killed a woman. Gunmen killed a soldier at a checkpoint. Another soldier was wounded in a roadside bombing.

A civilian was shot dead in Buhriz.

Gunmen killed a Sahwa member in Muqdadiya.

In Shirqat, a police officer was wounded in a sticky bomb explosion.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for since 2006.