Iraq [JURIST news archive] has executed 65 people [press release] so far this year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported Thursday. HRW said those executed were convicted of various crimes and counted a total of 51 in January and 14 in February. HRW also called for a moratorium on all future executions, and called for "an overhaul of [Iraq's] flawed criminal justice system." In its statement, HRW also said:
Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned that Iraqi courts admit as evidence confessions obtained under coercion. The government should disclose the identities, locations, and status of all prisoners on death row, the crimes for which they have been convicted, court records for their being charged, tried, and sentenced, and details of any impending executions.HRW further commented that "many defendants are unable to pursue a meaningful defense or to challenge evidence against them, and lengthy pretrial detention without judicial review is common."
In January UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] condemned [JURIST report] Iraq's execution of 34 individuals, including two women. All 34 of those executions occurred on a single day for crimes described as terrorism-related offenses. In June HRW expressed concern [JURIST report] about reports that Iraqi police forces had been beating and illegally detaining protesters. Last February, HRW accused military officials [JURIST report] overseen by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of running a secret jail in Iraq that is not subject to inspection by international groups and torturing suspects [JURIST news archive] in another detention center.