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Capital punishment in Iraq was commonly used by the government of Saddam Hussein.

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After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, suspended capital punishment on June 10, declaring that "the former regime used certain provisions of the penal code as a means of oppression, in violation of internationally acknowledged human rights."[1]

On August 8, 2004, capital punishment was reinstated in Iraq.[1] Iraqi law states that no person over the age of 70 can be executed.[2] There is an automatic right to appeal on all such sentences. Iraqi Law requires execution within 30 days of all legal avenues being exhausted. The last legal step, before the execution proceeds, is for the condemned to be handed a red card. This is completed by an official of the court with details of the judgment and a notice that execution is imminent.[3]

In September 2005, three murderers were the first people to be executed since the restoration. Then on March 9, 2006, an official of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council confirmed that Iraqi authorities had executed the first insurgents by hanging.[4]

27 people, including one woman, were executed by the Iraqi government on September 6, 2006, for high crimes against civilians.[5]

Execution of Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death by hanging for crimes against humanity[6] on November 5, 2006, and was executed on December 30, 2006 at approximately 6:00 a.m. local time. During the drop there was an audible crack indicating that his neck was broken, a successful example of a long drop hanging.[7]

By contrast, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, the head of the Mukhabarat, Saddam's security agency, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former chief judge, were executed on January 15, 2007, also by the long drop method, but Barzan was decapitated by the rope at the end of his fall indicating that the drop was too long, relative to his bodyweight.[8]

Also, former vice-president Taha Yassin Ramadan had been sentenced to life in prison on November 5, 2006, but the sentence was changed to death by hanging on February 12, 2007.[9] He was the fourth and final man to be executed for the 1982 crimes against humanity on March 20, 2007. This time, the execution went smoothly and without obvious mistake or problem.[10]

At the Anfal genocide trial, Saddam's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid (aka Chemical Ali), former defense minister Sultan Hashim Ahmed al-Tay, and former deputy Hussein Rashid Mohammed were sentenced to hang for their role in the Al-Anfal Campaign against the Kurds on June 24, 2007.[11] Al-Majid was again sentenced to death for the 1991 suppression of a Shi'a uprising along with Abdul-Ghani Abdul Ghafur on December 2, 2008.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Scores face execution in Iraq six years after invasion". Amnesty International USA. 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-03-21.  
  2. ^ "Saddam May Escape Hangman's Noose". 2006-12-04. Retrieved 2007-01-03.  
  3. ^ "Iraq is preparing for Saddam's hanging". International Herald Tribune. 2006-12-29. Retrieved 2006-12-31.  
  4. ^ "More bombs bring death to Iraq". Mail & Guardian Online. 2006-03-10. Retrieved 2006-04-27.  
  5. ^ "Iraq has months to avert collapse". CNN. 2006-09-06. Retrieved 2006-09-06.  
  6. ^ "Saddam Hussein sentenced to death by hanging". 2006-11-05. Retrieved 2006-11-05.  
  7. ^ "Saddam Hussein Hanging Video Shows Defiance, Taunts and Glee". National Ledger. 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2007-01-20.  
  8. ^ AP: Saddam’s half brother and ex-official hanged January 15, 2007
  9. ^ Top Saddam aide sentenced to hang February 12, 2007
  10. ^ Saddam's former deputy hanged in Iraq March 20, 2007
  11. ^ Iraq's "Chemical Ali" sentenced to death,, June 24, 2007. Retrieved on June 24, 2007.
  12. ^ Second death sentence for Iraq's 'Chemical Ali,, December 2, 2008. Retrieved on December 2, 2008.


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