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Published:September 23rd, 2006 17:09 EST
UN envoy to Iraq urges Government to commute sentences of people on death row

UN envoy to Iraq urges Government to commute sentences of people on death row

By SOP newswire

Expressing “deep concern” that over 140 persons have been sentenced to death and over 50 executed since 2004 in Iraq, the senior United Nations envoy to the war-torn country today urged the Government to commute the sentences of those on death row.

In addition to those figures, the Kurdistan Regional Government recently announced that 10 individuals were executed, following the removal of legal restrictions on the application of capital punishment, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, said in a statement released in Baghdad.

Mr. Annan has consistently encouraged States to abolish the death penalty, rejecting it in all circumstances, including in cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Reiterating his hope that the Government of Iraq would abolish the death penalty and prevent further executions, Mr. Qazi recalled that UN Commission on Human Rights has called on States to abolish capital punishment completely and, in the meantime, to establish a moratorium on executions.

“The United Nations will continue to assist the Government in Iraq in its attempts to foster a culture based on the rule of law and respect of human rights,” Mr. Qazi said.

He urged the Iraqi Government “to commute all sentences of capital punishment and to base its quest for justice on the protection and promotion of the right to life.”