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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09BAGHDAD1172
2009-05-04 15:20:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE RESUMES EXECUTIONS OF DEATH

Tags:   PHUM  PREL  SNAR  IQ 
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VZCZCXRO5725
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1172 1241520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041520Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2929
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
						UNCLAS BAGHDAD 001172 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

JUSTICE PASS TO PHIL LYNCH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL SNAR IQ
SUBJECT: MINISTRY OF JUSTICE RESUMES EXECUTIONS OF DEATH
ROW INMATES

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 001172

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

JUSTICE PASS TO PHIL LYNCH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL SNAR IQ
SUBJECT: MINISTRY OF JUSTICE RESUMES EXECUTIONS OF DEATH
ROW INMATES


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On May 3, the Ministry of Justice
executed 12 death-sentenced inmates at the Khadamiya prison
in Baghdad. There were 13 inmates scheduled for execution
on this date, but one sentenced inmate was withdrawn pending
an ongoing appeal. Of those executed, 10 were convicted and
sentenced to death for murder, and two were convicted and
sentenced to death for kidnapping. These were the first
executions carried out since August 21, 2007.

Background


2. (SBU) Until May 3, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) had
not conducted any executions of death row inmates since
August 21, 2007. Multiple legal and policy disputes within
the GOI appear to have contributed to this, but no clear
conclusions can be drawn as to the cause. One possible
reason was the former Acting Minister of Justice Dr. Safa
al-Safi,s opposition to the death penalty. Additionally, in
at least some cases, conflict arose within the GOI regarding
interpretations of the law requiring executive ratification
of death sentences.


3. (SBU) Currently, we are aware of an additional 721
inmates in the custody of the MOJ who have received death
sentences in competent Iraqi courts, 105 of whom have
received the requisite presidential execution order.
According to our information, all but three of these
individuals received the death penalty for murder, terrorism,
insurgency, or kidnapping. The exceptions were two who were
convicted of incest and one who was convicted of rape. We
are not otherwise aware of any death sentences for crimes
that the United States or international community would deem
grossly disproportionate or otherwise inappropriate (such as
blasphemy, adultery, homosexuality, etc.). It should be
noted that our visibility is limited to MOJ facilities, and
we do not have any information about prisoners with death
sentences who may be held in facilities maintained by the
Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Defense.
Additionally, there are 83 individuals who have received
death sentences from competent Iraqi courts, but remain in
U.S. custody at theater internment facilities (61 at Camp
Bucca and 22 at Camp Cropper).


4. (SBU) On February 23, Deputy Minister of Justice Posho
informed Rule of Law officials that the MOJ was preparing to
begin executing prisoners under death sentence. He informed
us that these death sentences resulted from the lawful
judicial orders of Iraqi courts and that the executions would
occur in the presence of a judge, physician, cleric, and
prison warden.


5. (SBU) On April 26, Deputy Minister Posho had informed
Rule of Law officials that the MOJ would begin executions on
Sunday, May 3 at the rate of no more than 14 inmates per
week. He explained that the executions would occur on
Sundays and continue for several months, beginning with the
oldest execution orders. The MOJ now appears to be following
through with this plan.

Comment


6. (SBU) The MOJ is aware that the resumption of
executions may produce a negative reaction from the
international, particularly NGO, community, and when the
international community (e.g., the European Union) learned of
the decision to resume executions, they made the
recommendation to the GOI to cancel them. In one instance,
earlier reports by one NGO of the previously planned
executions incorrectly claimed that the executions were for
the "crime" of homosexuality, which generated significant
negative media attention. Rule of Law investigation revealed
these claims to be without merit. As documented in the
Qthese claims to be without merit. As documented in the
Human Rights Report, though the Iraqi justice system has made
progress, it continues to face significant challenges. While
we have not taken a position on the death penalty with the
GOI, we have stressed the need for efficient and effective
due process. Our Rule of Law programs will continue to
provide the GOI with practical assistance to work toward
these goals.
HILL