An Iraqi coffin maker puts the final touches on a wooden casket
An Iraqi coffin maker puts the final touches on a wooden casket at his workshop in Baghdad in 2011. Iraq executed four people this week, bringing the number of people put to death so far this year to at least 69, or one more than in all of 2011, a justice ministry official said on Tuesday. © Ahmad al-Rubaye - AFP/File
An Iraqi coffin maker puts the final touches on a wooden casket
AFP
Last updated: February 21, 2012

Iraq's 2012 executions top 2011's number

Iraq executed four people this week, bringing the number of people put to death so far this year to at least 69, or one more than in all of 2011, a justice ministry official said on Tuesday.

"Four people, two of them convicted of terrorism-related charges and the others convicted of murder and kidnapping, were executed on Monday morning," the official told AFP.

All four were Iraqis, the official said.

The country has carried out several mass executions in 2012, including one in which 14 people were put to death on February 7, and another in which 17 were executed on January 31.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has expressed shock at the number of executions, criticising the lack of transparency in court proceedings and calling for an immediate suspension of the death penalty.

"I call on the government of Iraq to implement an immediate moratorium on the institution of the death penalty," she said.

"Even if the most scrupulous fair trial standards were observed, this would be a terrifying number of executions to take place in a single day," said Pillay.

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