Iraq says six ‘criminals’ executed

Baghdad: Six “criminals” were executed by hanging in Iraq this week, the justice ministry said on Thursday, without specifying if they were jihadists.

The ministry, in a statement, said they were put to death for having “shed the blood of Iraqis” after their appeals were rejected and the sentences ratified by the presidency.

It did not elaborate or identify any of the six who were hanged or say when they were executed.

A ministry spokesman questioned by AFP said only that the six were “terrorists” — a term used by Iraqi authorities to mean anyone sentenced to death.

But forensic sources said at least one of them was a Syrian national, while two were Iraqis.

In June, Iraq executed 13 jihadists after the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the murder of eight civilians whose bodies were found along the highway north of Baghdad.

At the time the justice ministry said the 13 convicts put to death at a prison in southern Iraq “had participated in armed operations with terrorist groups, in kidnappings, bombings and murders of civilians”.

It also said that another group of 64 convicts could be put to death as well after they lost an appeal for a stay of execution.

Iraq has repeatedly faced criticism from international human rights groups over the high number of death sentences handed down by its anti-terrorist courts.

In 2017, at least 111 convicts were hanged in Iraq and this year 31 people were executed.

Agence France-Presse