Iraq defies UN protests and executes 14 convicted criminals


BAGHDAD – Iraq executed 14 convicted criminals on Tuesday, a Justice Ministry official said, bringing the number of executions this year to at least 65 despite objections from the United Nations human rights chief. Those executed included an al-Qaeda commander, the senior official said. The criminals had been found guilty of crimes ranging from armed robbery and murder to terrorist offences. Executions were suspended after Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003 but reintroduced in 2004 by Iraqi authorities who said the death penalty was needed to combat a wave of sectarian bloodshed and attacks by insurgents. – (Reuters)