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Stop the death penalty in Iraq

| 12 December 2009

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  • Maliki’s election platform: 900 Iraqi prisoners face summary execution
  • In the run-up to elections, Maliki proposes executions to bolster his chances
  • Democracy in the new Iraq equals death and repression
  • The current regime in Iraq serves the US occupation: it is the occupation that kills Iraqis
The machine of repression and death in Iraq continues unabated. The Presidential Council of Iraq has reportedly ratified the death sentences of some 900 detainees who languish on death row. Some 17 of them are confirmed to be women.None of the condemned had a fair trial. The Iraqi judicial system has been deemed corrupt, fundamentally dysfunctional and plagued with sectarianism by responsible international agencies and all major human rights organisations. Hundreds of lawyers have been assassinated since 2003. The Association of Iraqi Lawyers has publicly declared that it cannot reach the detainees.In a bid to eliminate its political opponents, further terrorise the Iraqi people, ostensibly into submission, and to be casted the “tough leader” the US pretends it is currently seeking for Iraq, Nouri Al-Maliki has pledged to carry out these executions ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled in March of 2010.

Iraq already has one of the highest rates of executions in the world. On a single day in June, 19 people were hanged in Baghdad. Without global action, 900 people will be hanged imminently.

A culture of terror and detention

Terror through mass detention, torture and abuse is one of the trademarks of the US occupation and Maliki. In addition to mass killing, mass forced displacement, the contamination of Iraqi soil, the destruction of all public infrastructure and means of survival, tens of thousands of Iraqis are arbitrarily detained in both official and ghost facilities all over Iraq.

Exact figures of the number, age and gender of detainees are withheld by authorities. Those who want investigations on abuse are either threatened or killed. In June 2009, Harith Al-Obaidi, an MP and critic of human rights abuses, announced in parliament his plan to investigate allegations of corruption, torture and abuse in Iraqi prisons. He was assassinated the following day.

Depending on the source, the number of detainees varies from 44,014 to some 400,000. Tens of thousands of families don’t know the fate of a loved one arbitrarily arrested. Even the number of detention facilities is unknown. The ICRC, responsible for monitoring prisoners in time of conflict, has repeatedly complained of being denied access to all “field operation detention facilities” and secret prisons. Amnesty International, the International Federation of Human Rights and even the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, mandated by the Security Council to provide human rights reporting, are denied access to official detention centres by US Command.

The Red Cross has reported that intelligence officers of the US occupation themselves estimate that 70-90 per cent of Iraqi detainees are arrested “by mistake”. The majority is taken in sweeping and arbitrary mass arrest campaigns. They are held incommunicado, without charges, without visits from families or access to lawyers, for indefinite periods. The few who are formally accused are charged on the basis of confessions made under torture or the testimonies of dubious informants of the occupation. No tangible evidence is ever provided.

Since 2003, an estimated 2,400 children have been detained by the US, some as young as 10 years old. After denying it for years, the occupation has now acknowledged that a large but unspecified number of women are being held. Many were kidnapped to blackmail their husbands, accused of “terrorism,” into surrendering. They often have their infants and children in prison with them. Several women inmates interviewed by UN researchers reported being raped and sexually abused while held in custody. The US bears primary and final responsibility for these conditions.

Democracy in the new Iraq: repression

Everyday news outlets report more arrests and new killings by persons wearing official uniforms. The Maliki government praises itself for the recent waves of detention. Since its appointment, all it has succeeded in achieving is more repression of his opponents while the crimes against innocent people had never been investigated and punished.

Under occupation, Iraq has become the second most corrupted country in the world, the trade of prisoners one of the government militias’ most lucrative businesses. The police kidnap, hold prisoners in ghost prisons, sell them and blackmail their families for ransom with impunity.

Year after year, alarming reports have been published by leading human rights organisations, inside and outside Iraq, pointing to random arrests, unlawful detentions, summary executions, abuses, rape and torture of prisoners in Iraq, both at the hands of occupation forces and their local armed gangs.

Under false accusations and deceitful propaganda, the absence of law or a functioning judicial system, and with the support of the US for its puppet government, humanity and the rights of the human being are insulted every day in Iraq. Millions of Iraqis are suffering.

An occupation that tries to impose its plans and interests by force and destruction on a people whose rights, interests and identity is to resist it can only result in the perpetuation of genocide — the intended destruction of Iraq and the Iraqi people as a state and nation.

Call for global action

• We call on all to work to stop these executions and impose a moratorium on the death penalty in Iraq.

• We demand the release of all political prisoners, held in custody in official prisons and ghost facilities by the US, the US installed Iraqi government and the militias, brought to Iraq by the US occupation.

• Every Iraqi deserves protection and justice. Unfair trials in Iraq must be stopped.

• We call on the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in Iraq.

• We call on all organisations that defend the first human right — the right to life — to take up with urgency the cause of the 900 prisoners on death row in Iraq.

• We call on all lawyers associations to protest the absence of law and due process in Iraq, and to declare the imminent execution of these 900 prisoners unlawful.

• 900 prisoners killed in Iraq would be 900 insults to the common conscience of humanity.

• We call on all to do everything within their means to bring the cases of these 900 prisoners facing death to the public eye, and to demand action by relevant authorities.

• The US occupation of Iraq must end. It is that occupation that is the ultimate rope around the neck of Iraq, and the ultimate prison for the Iraqi people.

The BRussells Tribunal Committee
http://brusselstribunal.org

For information contact: [email protected]

With the support of:

Rev. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, M.M., (former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Catholic priest, Senior Adviser on Foreign Affairs, with the rank of Minister, to President Daniel Ortega Saavedra, President of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly – Nicaragua)
Prof. Em. François Houtart (Participant in the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal on US Crimes in Vietnam in 1967, Director of the Tricontinental Center (Cetri), spiritual father and member of the International Committee of the World Social Forum of Porto Alegre, Executive Secretary of the Alternative World Forum, President of the International League for Rights and Liberation of People, Honorary President of the BRussells Tribunal and senior advisor to the President of the United Nations General Assembly Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, recipient of the 2009 UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence – Belgium)
Eduardo Galeano (Essayist, journalist, historian, and activist – Uruguay)
Amb. Saeed Hasan – Former Iraqi Permanent representative to the UN
Denis Halliday (Former UN Assistant Secretary General & United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq 1997-98 – Ireland)
Hans von Sponeck (Former UN Assistant Secretary General & United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq 1998-2000 – Germany)
Cynthia McKinney (Former member of the House of Representatives for the 4th District of Georgia, Green Party US Presidential Candidate 2008, www.runcynthiarun.org – USA)
Michel Chossudovsky (Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa, founder of Centre for Research on Globalisation – Canada)
Sabah Al-Mukhtar (President Arab Lawyers Association UK)
Dr. Curtis F.J. Doebbler (International Human Rights Lawyer – USA)
Karen Parker (Attorney , Association of Humanitarian Lawyers, USA)
Fabio Marcelli (IADL, International Association of Democratic Lawyers)
Niloufer Bhagwat (Vice President of Indian Lawyers Association – Mumbai / India)
Juliette Sayegh (General Arab Women Federation – United Nations, Geneva/Switzerland)
Manal Younes (President General Federation of Iraqi Women – Iraq)
Malak Hamdan (Women Solidarity For An Independent and Unified Iraq)
Wadood Fawzi (Iraqi Human Rights center – Iraq)
Hassan Aydinli (EU Representative Iraqi Turkmen Friendship Association )
Michael Parenti (Author – USA)
James Petras (Author, Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York)
Edward S. Herman (Author, Professor Emeritus of Finance, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania – USA)
Jan-Erik Lundström (lecturer, curator, director of BildMuseet, organizer, and writer – Sweden)
H V F Winstone (journalist, author – UK)
Prof. Dr. Lieven De Cauter (philosopher, K.U. Leuven / Rits, initiator of the BRussells Tribunal)
General Dato Seri Azumi(rtd) (Executive Director Perdana Global Peace Organisation and former Chief of Army Malaysia)
Dr. Mario J. Yutzis, Expert of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Kathy Kelly (Co-coordinator, Voices For Creative Nonviolence)
Jodie Evans (Co-Founder Codepink – USA)
Matthias Chang, Trustee of The Kuala Lumpur Foundation To Criminalise War
Elmar Altvater, Berlin, Vice President of the Lelio Basso International foundation for the Right of Peoples
Gunnar Westberg (Boardmember, Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF) – Sweden)
Michel Monod (International Fellowship of Reconciliation)
Ruedi Tobler, Chairman, Swiss Peace Council – Switzerland
Dr. Bert De Belder (Coordinator INTAL & Medical Aid For The Third World – Belgium)
Dr. Ian Douglas (coordinator of the International Initiative to Prosecute US Genocide in Iraq – Egypt / UK)
David Swanson (Writer, Co-Founder AfterDowningStreet coalition – USA)
Muhamad Tareq Al-Deraji (Director of Monitoring net of human rights in Iraq – President of Conservation Center Of Environment and Reserves – Iraq )
Dr. Saad Jawad (professor of political science at Baghdad University, head of Iraq’s University Professors Association – Iraq)
Stephen Soldz, President-Elect, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, USA; Professor, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis)
Sr. Anne Montgomery RSCJ (Christan Peacemaker Teams – USA)
Hana Al Bayaty (filmmaker / journalist / coordinator of the Iraqi International Initiative on refugees – Iraq / Egypt / France)
Ludo De Brabander (Vrede, Peace Movement – Belgium)
Amir Al Kubaissy, AlJazeera’s correspondent for Iraq
Rashad Salim (Visual Artist, cultural activist/researcher and writer – International Network For Contemporary Iraqi Artists – Iraq / UK)
Prof. Em. Herman De Ley (Em. Prof. Ghent University, Ex-director of Centre for Islam in Europe – Belgium)
BRUSSELLS TRIBUNAL – Opening session of the World Tribunal on Iraq
CEOSI- Spanish Campaign against the Occupation and for the Sovereignty of Iraq – Spain
ASSOCIATION OF IRAQI DIPLOMATS
CODEPINK: Women For Peace – USA
CODIP – Palestine Solidarity Organisation – Belgium
GENERAL ARAB WOMEN FEDERATION (GAWF)
GENERAL FEDERATION OF IRAQI WOMEN (GFIW) – Iraq
INDIAN COUNCIL OF SOUTH AMERICA
INDIGENEOUS PEOPLES AND NATIONS COALITION
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER – USA
IRAQ OCCUPATION FOCUS – UK
IRAQ SOLIDARITY ASSOCIATION IN STOCKHOLM – Sweden
IRAQ SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN – UK
IRAQI COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (ICHR)
IRAQI HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER – Iraq
MEDIA WITH CONSCIENCE (mwcnews.net)
MOUVEMENT CHRETIEN POUR LA PAIX – Belgium
NORD SUD XXI (NGO)
ORGANIZATION FOR JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ (OJDI)
PERDANA GLOBAL PEACE ORGANISATION – Malaysia
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS OF AMERICA (www.pdamerica.org) – USA
THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF AMERICAN BASES – CAAB (UK)
UNION OF ARAB JURISTS (UAJ)
WOMEN SOLIDARITY FOR AN INDEPENDENT AND UNIFIED IRAQ
Abdul Ilah Al-Bayaty (Analyst, Writer, executive Committee BRussells Tribunal – Iraq / France)
Adriaensens Dirk (coordinator SOS Iraq, executive Committee BRussells Tribunal – Belgium)
Asma Al-Haidari (Jordan – Iraq)
Ayse Berktay (World Tribunal On Iraq co-organizer)
Benita Parry (Emerita Professor, Univ of Warwick, UK)
Dahr Jamail (Journalist / Writer – USA)
Diana Johnstone (Author, journalist – France / USA)
Dr. Alfred de Zayas (Professor, Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations/ Geneva-Switzerland)
Dr. Mahmoud Almsafir (Associate Professor of Economics – Uniten University / Malaysia)
Dr. Omar K. Al-Kubaissi (Cardiologist – Iraq / Jordan)
Dr. Peter Foreman, MD – USA
Dr. Sawsan al-Assaf – Iraq
Dr. Souad Naji Al-Azzawi (Asst. Prof. Env. Eng. – University of Baghdad – Iraq)
Elias Khouri, Union of Arab Jurists-Geneva
Felicity Arbuthnot (Journalist – UK)
Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar (Engineer – Sweden/Iraq)
Hisham Bustani, Writer and Activist, Movement Against Normalization with “Israel”, Jordan
Inge Van De Merlen (BRussells Tribunal member)
Jan-Erik Gustafsson (Associate professor, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), Stockholm – Sweden)
Joachim Guilliard (Journalist, Anti-war movement – Germany)
John Bart Gerald (poet, writer – US / Canada)
John Catalinotto (INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER- USA)
Jos Hennes (EPO Publishers – Belgium)
Karin Friedeman, editor – World View News Service
Laith Al Saud (journalist, college lecturer in social sciences – Iraq / USA)
Laurent Goetschel, director Swiss Peace Foundation-Switzerland
Leen De Backer (Collectiebeheerder Presentatie M HKA – Belgium)
M.M.Nasr – Lawyer
Merry Fitzgerald, Europe-Iraqi Turkmens Friendship Association
Michel Collon (journalist / writer, founder of Investig’Action – Belgium)
Mike Powers (Chair, Iraq Solidarity Association in Stockholm)
Mohammed Aref (Science writer and consultant based in Surrey, UK)
Mundher Al-Adhami (Research Fellow at Kings College London – Iraq / UK)
Naji Haraj (former Iraqi diplomat, human rights activist – Iraq)
Nermeen al Mufti (journalist and writer, member of the BRussells Tribunal, iraq)
Nicolas J S Davies (Author of Blood on our hands: the American invasion and destruction of Iraq, due out in March from Nimble Books)
Patrick Deboosere (Demographer – VUB, member of the BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee – Belgium)
Paola Manduca (Prof. Genetics, Anti-war movement – Italy)
Ronald Branes, Human rights activist – Geneva
Rob Steen (Journalist/Writer – UK)
Sankar Ray (Calcutta-based journalist and commentator)
Séamas Cain (Artist – Ireland)
Sigyn Meder (Iraq Solidarity Association in Stockholm – Sweden)
Stephen Eric Bronner (Director of Global Relations at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Professor of political science, Rutgers University – USA)
Stephen Lendman (Writer, analyst, co-host of The Global Research News Hour – USA)
Tahrir Swift, Iraqi activist
Thomas M. Fasy (MD PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Mount Sinai School of Medicine – USA)
Wajdi A. Mardan, Diplomat and writer
Yonit Manor Percival, International Lawyer.

This appeal was drafted by Ian Douglas, Abdul Ilah Albayaty and Hana Al Bayaty, and was first published by the BRussells Tribunal: http://brussellstribunal.org/DeathPenalty121209.htm
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We negate and we must negate because something in us wants to live and affirm — Friedrich Nietzsche