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.”


Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

Egyptian Christians stand outside St. Markos Church in Minya, south of Cairo, Egypt, in this Jan. 6, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 35 min 42 sec ago
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Dead body business attracts medics, drug dealers in Egypt

  • Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students

CAIRO: The Egyptian Orthodox Church has issued a statement condemning the theft of the body of the Patriarch Gerges, son of priest Ibrahim Al-Basit, from his family’s burial place in the Minya governorate.
Last Saturday, the cemetery was opened and Al-Basit’s body was stolen. The crime of stealing the bodies of the dead has recently spread across Egypt, especially while the sanctity of the body remains preserved. It is also common for the remains to be collected two years after the burial.
Last October, a gang was arrested after stealing bodies from their graves. An investigation has revealed that the main defendant sold the bodies to medical students for practical learning.
Some of the gravediggers remove tissues and grease from the bones by boiling them to remove their odor before selling them to students.
The investigation found that the defendant had put a price on various limbs. The leg and the arm were priced at 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($180), the skull cost 5,000 pounds and the whole body was worth 20,000 pounds.
Ashraf Farahat, a legal expert and lawyer, said that Egyptian law demands up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 100-500 pounds for criminals who violate the sanctity of graves.
Yasser Sayed Ahmed, a legal expert and lawyer, said he knew of many cases where cemetery guards and assistants help people access graves for superstitious reasons in exchange for large sums of money.
The majority of these cases are happening with the help of the guards of the tombs. They exhume graves at night to extract the bodies and separate the organs to sell bones and skulls. They often sell them to drug dealers by grinding and mixing some materials for sale at high prices.