Al Qaeda leader, three others executed in Iraq

Baghdad, April 1 (IANS) The Iraqi justice ministry Monday said it has executed an Al Qaeda leader and three others convicted of terrorist and criminal activities.

The four included Munaf Abdul Raheem al-Rawi, the top leader of the militant group in Baghdad province. He was arrested in March 2010 over masterminding massive attacks in the capital, including against ministries, hotels, foreign embassies, mosques and churches, Xinhua reported.

“The executions for the four terrorists were carried out by hanging, for their role in leading terrorist groups which planned and carried out a large number of criminal acts against the people in a number of provinces, including bombings in Baghdad and (the western province of) Anbar,” the ministry said in a statement.

However, the increase in the number of executions in Iraq has sparked calls from the UN mission in Iraq, the European Union and international human rights groups to stop Baghdad’s use of capital punishment.

The death penalty in Iraq was suspended for over a year after the US-led invasion. Paul Bremer, then US administrator for Iraq, suspended its use in June 2003.

However, the Iraqi government reinstated the capital punishment in August 2004, saying that it would curb the widespread violence in the country. Since then, scores of people have been executed, including toppled president Saddam Hussein.

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