"Saddam-style" torture and death penalty still prevalent in Iraq: Amnesty

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Baghdad (Iraq), Sep 1(ANI): Amnesty International on Tuesday said that even though Iraq has been free from Saddam Hussein's regime for six years, more than 1,000 prisoners are still facing death penalty in the country.

It said that Iraq's burdened justice system can barely cope with ordinary crimes, and punishment for crimes ranging from murder to the membership and support of armed groups are out of bounds for them.

"Many Iraqis who had been traumatised by his policies hoped and expected that a new chapter would be opened in which human rights would be respected and upheld, and that torture, killings and the death penalty would remain only as a bad memory of the past," The Daily Express quoted Amnesty International, as saying.

"Six years on (from the fall of the regime in 2003), as an estimated 1,000 prisoners face the prospect of execution, that dream has all but faded to nothing," it added.

Amnesty further said that instead of wiping away the death penalty, Iraqi government had widened both the scope and application of penalty in 2004, and called for an "immediate moratorium" on all executions.

It further added that Iraq use of the death penalty "lacks transparency", and trails in the country fail to match international standards and said it expressed disappointment that Iraq's Human Rights Minister Dr Wajdan Mikhail Salam advocates the death penalty.

It also said that people suffering from death penalties should be given a ray of hope to contend their cases again.

Amnesty also claimed that complaints were received from defendants in numerous cases that confessions were extracted from them under torture.

It further informed that out of the 1,000 prisoners, some 150 have exhausted all means of appeal or clemency and are at "immediate risk of death". (ANI)

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