by Ýpek Yezdani
Fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi has sent a letter to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to request his intervention “to stop the arbitrary and ever-increasing rate of executions in Iraq.”
In his letter, al-Hashemi said President Talabani had it “within his power, authority, and discretion as President to stop the executions in Iraq.” Al-Hashemi, a Sunni, first fled to northern Iraq and then to Turkey after being accused of running a death squad by Iraqi authorities and al-Maliki, a Shiite. The vice president has dismissed the allegations as being politically motivated.
Confessions through torture
Al-Hashemi also sent a letter to the U.N. special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez five months ago, requesting an investigation into the deaths of a number of his bodyguards, who he claims were tortured to death while in Iraqi custody. In that letter, al-Hashemi said the damning reports of the U.N. commissioner in charge of monitoring torture cases and Amnesty International reflected a natural reaction to the absence of justice in the Iraqi judiciary, and the fact that confessions had been coerced through torture. “These statements reflect the painful reality and represent a natural reaction to the absence of justice in Iraq’s judiciary, the coerced confessions through torture, and the denying the accused of any human rights according to international law.
These organizations have notified the Iraqi government to stop these executions immediately, but the Iraqi government responded that this is an Iraqi affair that involves Iraqi blood, thus asking them not to interfere,” al-Hashemi said.
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