IRAQ. GOVERNMENT WANTS TO ABOLISH DEATH PENALTY - MINISTER
March 14, 2007: The government of Iraq wants to abolish the death penalty, its human rights minister said. The first step would be to limit capital punishment, which was re-introduced over two years ago to combat spiralling criminal violence, to the most extreme cases such as genocide and crimes against humanity.
"We are working to eliminate capital punishment in Iraq, after restricting it to the largest possible extent," Wijdan Michael told the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The minister said Iraq, where human rights activists say torture and abuse is widespread in prisons, also wants to sign the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits cruel and inhuman punishment and arbitrary executions. (Sources: Reuters, 14/03/2007)