Iraq’s presidency approved on Thursday the executions of 53 people, including five foreigners, according to the head of the presidency council office.
“There are 53 people who have been approved for execution — among them are five foreigners,” Nassir al-Ani told AFP. He provided no further details of who the people were who would be executed, or the nationalities of the foreign prisoners.
Ani heads the office of the presidency council, comprised of President Jalal Talabani and his two deputies Tareq al-Hashemi and Khudayr al-Khuzaie, which must approve all death sentences in Iraq.
Last month, Abdelsattar Birakdar, the spokesman of the Higher Judicial Council, said 338 death sentences had been issued so far this year, and three executions had been carried out.
Iraq’s Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim said in December 2010 that Iraq has executed 257 people, including six women, since 2005.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is an ardent supporter of capital punishment, but President Jalal Talabani is a staunch opponent.
Amnesty International, a human rights watchdog, noted in a September 2009 that Iraq was one of only 46 countries that voted against a December 2008 UN resolution in favour of a moratorium on the use of capital punishment. The resolution was approved by 106 states.