Monday, April 01, 2013

Executions continue in Iraq

 National Iraqi News Agency reports, "Hundreds of citizens demonstrated in Maysaloon Square in central city of Fallujah and the sit-in Square northern Ramadi to mark passing 100 days of starting the sit-ins.  Layla Anwar (Arab Woman Blues) has listed the protesters demands as:

- End of Sectarian Shia rule
- the re-writing of the Iraqi constitution (drafted by the Americans and Iranians)
- the end to arbitrary killings and detention, rape and torture of all detainees on basis of sect alone and their release
- the end of discriminatory policies in employment, education, etc based on sect
- the provision of government services to all
- the end of corruption
- no division between Shias and Sunnis, a one Islam for all Iraqi Muslims and a one Iraq for all Iraqis.

An end to arbitrary killings?  Not last year, not today.

Iraq set a record in 2012 -- like most of the records under Nouri al-Maliki's 'leadership,' it's nothing anyone would brag about.  Dropping back to the November 12th snapshot:
Staying with violence, as noted in the October 15th snapshot, Iraq had already executed 119 people in 2012.  Time to add more to that total.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reported last night that 10 more people were executed on Sunday ("nine Iraqis and one Egyptian").  Tawfeeq notes the Ministry of Justice's statement on the executions includes, "The Iraqi Justice Ministry carried out the executions by hanging 10 inmates after it was approved by the presidential council."
November 29th, speaking to the United Nations Security Council, Martin Kobler noted the vast number of executions that had taken place in 2012. 

Martin Kobler:  To date, this year, 123 people have been executed in Iraq.  53 of them since July.  The latest executions were carried out on 11 November, when 11 convicts were executed, including one Egyptian.  I continue to reiterate the Secretary-General's call in his report for the government of Iraq to consider a moratorium on all executions, in accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions. 

129 or 123, it's a disturbing number.  And despite calls for a moratorium, there's been no effort to stop the executions.  Alsumaria reports that Iraqiya MP Yassin al-Mutlaq announced at a press conference today in front of the Parliament building that the Ministry of Justice executed 30 people yesterday.  The MP also declared that they have evidence declaring that some of the people responsible for the crimes that led to yesterday's executions were allowed to walk by paying bribes and getting out of prison.   Alsumaria also notes that the Ministry of Justice announced today that 4 executions have taken place today.

Dropping back to March 27th snapshot:

Today KUNA notes, "EU High Representative Catherine Ashton [. . .] expressed concern over recent reports of a number of executions in Iraq."  Elena Ralli (New Europe) quotes Ashton stating:

I deeply regret that the authorities have chosen to re-start executions now, when the Iraqi government had committed to re-examining the cases of prisoners and detainees. Iraq is aware of the EU's unequivocal position against the death penalty. The EU strongly believes that capital punishment violates the most fundamental of human rights. The EU appreciates the seriousness of the crimes for which those sentenced to death have been convicted. The EU however does not believe death penalty will act as a deterrent.
Ashton is only one of many who've expressed concerns recently.   At the end of last year, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme's Deputy Director Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui declared, "Death sentences are being flung out after grossly unfair trials relying on 'confessions' obtained under torture.  Instead of carrying out executions, the Iraqi authorities should prioritize fixing its deeply flawed criminal justice system."  Also last year, Human Rights Watch's Joe Stork pointed out, "The Iraqi authorities' insistence on carrying out this outrageous string of executions, while unwilling to reveal all but the barest of information, underlines the opaque and troubling nature of Iraq's justice system.  Rather than executing people, Iraq should focus on reforming its security and judicial systems to protect its citizens from increasing human rights violations."

 The international outcry against Iraq's mass executions only continues to grow but they continue to be carried out.  NINA notes that MP al-Mutlaq at today's press conference called for executions to be halted and noted the need for Parliament "to speed up adoption of the amnesty law and the aboltion of the de-Baathification as well as the adoption of other laws that meet hte demands of the protesters."

April 20th, Iraq is set to hold provincial elections.  Currently, 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces are supposed to participate.  There are three provinces that make up the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government: Dahuk, Erbil and Sulamaniyah.   They hold their own elections and last did so in July of 2009.  It is anticipated that they will hold elections in their provinces in July of this year.  (Parliamentary elections find the KRG voting at the same time as the rest of Iraq.)  That brings us to 15 of Iraq's provinces.  Kirkuk is an oil-rich province and it is disputed with both the centeral government out of Baghdad claiming it as well as the KRG claiming it.  Article 140 details how that will be resolved -- Article 140 of the Constitution.  Nouri was made prime minister in 2006 and he was bound by the Constitution -- which he took an oath to -- to implement Article 140 by the end of 2007 but Nouri never keeps a promise or oath.  Kirkuk brings us to 16.  The other two provinces not voting?

Nouri has decreed -- giving a different reason every other day -- that Anbar and Nineveh will not be voting in the elections.   Al Mada reports that Parliament is decrying the decision to postpone elections in Anbar and Nineveh (Nouri's said for six months).

From Karkuk من كركوك

Despised politician Saleh al-Mutlaq (pictured above on an Iraqi Spring MC photo of the protests last Friday) declared that there's no harm if voting's delayed in Nineveh or Anbar.  Look for Saleh al-Mutlaq to be escorted out of Iraqiya -- that is if he's not killed first.  He's truly hated.  We've documented since 2011.  The people do not like Saleh al-Mutlaq.  Shi'ites hate him because he's supposed to still be a Ba'athist.  That is what the Justice and Accountability Commission found in 2010 which is why he was prevented from running for Parliament.  Iraqiya fought for him when he was labeled a terrorist.  His thanks to Iraqiya is to continue to spit on them which is why Sunnis hate him.

Dar Addustour notes that the Electoral Commission has announced that they will be issuing a report and the report will determine when elections are held in Anbar Province and Nineveh Province.   Like most Iraqi outlets in the last weeks, Dar Addustour has stopped billing the commission as "independent."

There are certain rules about campaigning in Iraq.  Nouri has upset the Iraqi youth with recent comments.  Al Mada notes that the comments include Nouri asserting that if it were not for State of Law, Iraq would have collapsed.  The Iraq Times notes the Youth Caucus has issued a statement demanding Nouri apologize for the partisan remark.  The only apology he has issued is a weak one, Alsumaria reports, for not attending today's Parliament session where he was supposed to face questions.

In other news,    Al Mada carries an article which opens with the declaration that Iraq is headed for disintegration and that the United States stays silent as it takes place and does nothing.  Dar Addustour reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani dispatched an envoy to the US last month to explore the issues with the US government and that the envoy has met with US Vice President Joe Biden.

Bonnie notes that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "It's The Lack of Sincerity" went up last night.  On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include  events in Cuba with guest Dennis James (who just returned from Cuba along with host Michael Smith) and marriage equality with Columbia Law School's Katherine Franke.  Let's also note this:

I haven't listened yet and may not have time to.  But Bill Scherr can do strong radio and that discussion should be worth hearing. 

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