Sunday, 14 December 2014 19:50

HRW: Abadi's Government Must Reform Justice System, Stop 'Politicized' Sentences

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Current Iraqi government must stop handing down death sentences based on evidence that was extracted by torturing suspects, Human Rights Watch says.

MOSCOW, December 14 (Sputnik) — Iraq must reform its justice system and stop handing down death sentences based on evidence, extracted by torture, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement released Sunday.

"Iraq's judiciary is still handing down convictions in politicized trials, fraught with legal irregularities. Despite promises of reform, the government is sitting idly by while Iraq's terribly flawed justice system sentences people to death on little or no evidence," the organization's deputy Middle East and North Africa Director Joe Stork was quoted as saying in the statement.

Stork's comment came after a secretary to former Vice President of Iraq Tariq Hashimi, Rasha Husseini, and a former parliament member Ahmed Alwani were sentenced to death on charges of terrorism and murder respectively.

The court's decision in Husseini's case was based entirely on her confession. Nevertheless, Husseini's family claims that she was tortured by the Iraqi authorities and made a confession only because she could not bear the suffering any longer. According to Alwani's family, he was also tortured while awaiting trial.

However, the Iraqi government has repeatedly denied torture allegations and did not proceed with investigating them, HRW said.

The human rights group has called on Baghdad to order a stay on the executions of the two former politicians until the allegations of abuse and torture are thoroughly investigated.

In his December 9 interview, Iraq's Human Rights Minister Mohammed Bayati claimed that the country has a right to sentence to death those accused of terrorism and murder, even if the the judgments are based purely on the suspects' confessions or on data coming from secret informers.

amsi.com and agencies.

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