Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Capital punishment in Iraq

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Capital punishment is a legal penalty in Iraq.


It was commonly used by the government of Saddam Hussein; and has been since his removal from office. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, suspended capital punishment on June 10, declaring that "the former regime used certain provisions of the penal code as a means of oppression, in violation of internationally acknowledged human rights."

On August 8, 2004, capital punishment was reinstated in Iraq. Iraqi law states that no person over the age of 70 can be executed, despite people like Tariq Aziz, sentenced to death at the age of 74. There is an automatic right to appeal on all such sentences. Iraqi Law requires execution within 30 days of all legal avenues being exhausted. The last legal step, before the execution proceeds, is for the condemned to be handed a red card. This is completed by an official of the court with details of the judgment and a notice that execution is imminent.

In September 2005, three murderers were the first people to be executed since the restoration. Then on March 9, 2006, an official of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council confirmed that Iraqi authorities had executed the first insurgents by hanging.

27 people, including one woman, were executed by the Iraqi government on September 6, 2006, for high crimes against civilians.

At least 285 people were sentenced to death in 2008; at least 34 were executed. In 2007, at least 199 people were sentenced to death and 33 executed, in 2006, at least 65 people were executed. The actual figures could be much higher as there are no available official statistics."

There were at least 120 executions in 2009, overwhelmingly for alleged terrorist offences. More than 900 people, including 17 women, were thought to be at risk of imminent execution in Iraq at the end of 2009 - they had reportedly exhausted all forms of appeal and their death sentences were said to have been ratified by the Presidential Council.

On January 19, 2012, 34 people were executed in a single day. Early in October 2013, 42 people convicted of terrorism charges were hanged over the course of two days. By that date a total of 132 people had been executed in 2013.

In July 2016, the Prime minister Haider Al-Abadi ordered the execution of all terrorists condemned in the country following the Baghdad suicide truck bombing which killed over 250 people at a mall in Karrada, Baghdad.


Women on death row are held at the Shaaba Khamsa death row facility at Camp Justice, Kadhimiyya, Baghdad. Girls under 18 who are handed death sentences are held at Karrada juvenile detention facility until they turn 18; at that stage they are transferred to the adult women's death row. As of 2014 the adult women's death row had 36 women as well as children even though the facility was only intended to hold 25 women.

Execution of Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging for crimes against humanity on November 5, 2006, and was executed on December 30, 2006 at approximately 6:00 a.m. local time. During the drop there was an audible crack indicating that his neck was broken, a successful example of a long drop hanging.

By contrast, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, the head of the Mukhabarat, Saddam's security agency, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief judge, were executed on January 15, 2007, also by the long drop method, but Barzan was decapitated by the rope at the end of his fall indicating that the drop was too long, relative to his body weight.

Also, former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan had been sentenced to life in prison on November 5, 2006, but the sentence was changed to death by hanging on February 12, 2007. He was the fourth and final man to be executed for the 1982 crimes against humanity on March 20, 2007. This time, the execution went smoothly and without obvious mistake or problem.

At the Anfal genocide trial, Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid (aka Chemical Ali), former defense minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Tay, and former deputy Hussein Rashid Mohammed were sentenced to hang for their role in the Al-Anfal Campaign against the Kurds on June 24, 2007. Al-Majid was sentenced to death three more times: once for the 1991 suppression of a Shi'a uprising along with Abdul-Ghani Abdul Ghafur on December 2, 2008; once for the 1999 crackdown in the assassination of Grand Ayatollah Mohammad al-Sadr on March 2, 2009; and once on January 17, 2010 for the gassing of the Kurds in 1988; he was hanged on January 25.

On October 26, Saddam's top minister Tariq Aziz was sentenced to hang for persecuting the members of rival Shi'a political parties. However, Aziz died of a heart attack on June 5, 2015, before he could be hanged.

On July 14, 2011, Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Tay and two of Saddam's half-brothers -- Sabawi Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Watban Ibrahim al-Tikriti (both condemned to death on March 11, 2009 for the role in the executions of 42 traders who were accused of manipulating food prices) -- were handed over to the Iraqi authorities for execution.


Capital punishment in Iraq Wikipedia