Iraq PM orders ‘immediate’ execution of death row terrorists

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi ordered the immediate execution of all convicted terrorists on death row, in swift retaliation for Daesh’s execution of eight captives. (File photo Reuters)
Updated 28 June 2018
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Iraq PM orders ‘immediate’ execution of death row terrorists

  • Iraqi Prime Minister orders the immediate execution of all convicted terrorists on death row
  • It comes in swift retaliation for Daesh’s execution of eight captives

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi on Thursday ordered the immediate execution of hundreds of convicted terrorists on death row, in swift retaliation for Daesh’s execution of eight captives.
Abadi, who has faced charges of failing to respond in force to Daesh, ordered “the immediate punishment of terrorists condemned to death whose sentences have passed the decisive stage,” his office said, referring to convicts whose appeals have been exhausted.
No date was announced for the start of any mass hangings.
More than 300 people, including around 100 foreign women, have been condemned to death in Iraq and hundreds of others to life imprisonment for membership of Daesh, a judicial source said in April.
Most of the convicted women are Turkish or from former Soviet republics, while a Russian man and a Belgian national are also on death row.
Abadi vowed Thursday to avenge the deaths of the eight Daesh captives, a day after their bodies were found along a highway north of Baghdad.
“Our security and military forces will take forceful revenge against these terrorist cells,” he told senior military officials and ministers.
“We promise that we will kill or arrest those who committed this crime,” he said.
The corpses, found at Tel Sharaf in Salaheddin province, were decomposing and had been strapped with explosive vests, the army said.
They included six abductees who had appeared in an Daesh video with badly bruised faces. Daesh claimed they were Iraqi police officers or members of the Hashed Al-Shaabi paramilitary force which was key to the terrorists’ defeat.
In the video posted Saturday by the Amaq propaganda outlet of Daesh, the terrorists threatened to execute their captives unless Baghdad released Sunni Muslim women held in its prisons within three days.
But Abadi said autopsies indicated the captives were already dead when the recording was posted and that “the terrorists posted the video to try to dupe us.”
Iraqi security forces “will also find out who passed on information to the terrorist cell,” he pledged.
The change of tone from the prime minister came after criticism on social media of his failure to react forcefully to the grisly discovery.
Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December after expelling the terrorists from all urban centers including second city Mosul in a vast military campaign.
But the Iraqi military has kept up operations targeting mostly desert areas along the porous border with Syria.
Iraq, which has repeatedly faced criticism over the high number of death sentences handed down by its anti-terrorist courts, hanged at least 111 convicts in 2017.
Around 20,000 people were arrested in the three-year battle for Iraqi forces to evict Daesh, which had seized swathes of western and northern Iraq in 2014.
Human Rights Watch last week urged Iraq’s judiciary to deal with foreign women and children affiliated with Daesh on a case-by-case basis instead of slapping them with “one size fits all” sentences.
Since January, HRW said Iraq’s judiciary had “proceeded with rushed trials against foreigners on charges of illegal entry and membership in or assistance” to the terrorists group.
Most foreign women had been sentenced to death or life in prison and children aged nine and above to between five and 15 years in jail for taking part in violent acts, it said.
The New York-based watchdog called on Iraq “to take into account their individual circumstances and actions and give priority to prosecuting the most serious crimes while exploring alternatives for lesser ones.”


Dozens wounded as police break up Morocco teacher protest

Updated 54 min 34 sec ago
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Dozens wounded as police break up Morocco teacher protest

  • Teachers on temporary contracts launched a strike in March
  • The dispute concerns 55,000 teachers recruited since 2016 on fixed-term contracts

RABAT: Over 70 demonstrators were left wounded Thursday after Moroccan police used water cannon to disperse a rally in the capital by thousands of contract teachers protesting over their employment terms.
Teachers chanting “Social justice!” and “No to dismantling public schools!” attempted to camp out overnight in front of parliament in central Rabat to press their demands, but police broke up their rally.
The public-sector teachers, mostly wearing white coats, came from several cities around the country after a meeting with the education ministry was canceled on Tuesday.
Organizers of the event later said over 70 teachers were hospitalized, with varying injuries during the protest, with many beaten by batons.
Teachers on temporary contracts launched a strike in March and have held major demonstrations to press their demand for permanent employment arrangements to improve their conditions, especially over retirement.
After a first meeting with the education ministry in mid-April, representatives of the teachers suspended their strike.
But the education ministry Tuesday accused some teachers of not respecting that commitment and said it would not continue the dialogue until they resumed work.
For their part, the teachers say the ministry does not want to grant their main demand: to be granted civil servant status along with the job security that affords.
The dispute concerns 55,000 teachers recruited since 2016 on fixed-term contracts.
Teachers on temporary contracts enjoy the same salaries as their permanent colleagues — 5,000 dirhams ($520) a month — but unlike them, do not have access to a pension fund and other benefits.