Calling for passing general amnesty law

Al-Nujaifi urges halt on executions, citing unfair trial conditions

BAGHDAD – Former Iraqi Parliament Speaker Usama Al-Nujaifi has called on senior state officials, including the president, prime minister, and parliament speaker, to suspend executions in the country until a general amnesty law is issued.

In a statement, Al-Nujaifi, who leads the Sunni Mutahidoun Party, said many death sentences were issued under “ambiguous and extremely complex” circumstances involving occupation resistance, sectarian conflict, and terrorism. He emphasized the lack of real opportunities to verify charges or differentiate between genuine accusations and false reports from secret informants.

Recently, Iraq executed several individuals convicted of terrorism charges, including eight executions in late May in a prison in Dhi Qar province. International rights groups have expressed concerns about the ongoing executions, citing lack of transparency. Since December, at least 34 individuals have been hanged in Iraqi prisons, with Amnesty International suggesting the actual figures might be higher. In some cases, prisoners, their lawyers, and families were not notified. Executed individuals typically come from Sunni backgrounds.

Al-Nujaifi stressed the need to revisit cases rooted in political or sectarian contexts, calling for re-investigations to ensure fair judicial reviews. He highlighted the adverse impact of the years marked by suffering, tension, and conflict on the issuance of just rulings.

Addressing broader implications, Al-Nujaifi urged Parliament to expedite the enactment of a general amnesty law, noting that the delay has caused significant anguish among families of many innocents caught in turbulent times.

Passing a general amnesty law has been a key demand of Sunni political forces in the current government of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani. However, resistance from Shia groups has stalled the legislation, with concerns it could lead to the release of individuals with terrorism connections.