Iraq reimposes death penalty for certain crimes

 

Iraq's interim government reinstated the death penalty on Sunday for a range of crimes including murder, kidnapping and drug offences, officials said.

Capital punishment was suspended after the toppling of Saddam Hussein in April last year. Officials, speaking at a news conference, said the death penalty would go into effect once it had been published in a government gazette.

"This has to do with the security situation in Iraq," Minister of State Mr Adnan al-Janabi said, speaking a day after the government announced an amnesty for insurgents who have committed minor crimes.

The death penalty, used liberally during Saddam's brutal rule, might apply to the captured ex-dictator himself, who stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The officials at the news conference refused to be drawn on whether the death penalty would apply to him.

The European Union had urged the interim government not to reinstate capital punishment. But Iraqi officials had said it was needed to halt a raging insurgency and crime wave.