후세인 심복 ‘케이컬 알리’ 포함, 일주일 동안 12명이나 사형 선고받아
사담 후세인(Saddam Hussain)의 수석 비서였던 알리 하산 알 마지드(Ali Hassan al-Majid)가 지난 17일 사형을 선고 받았다. 2007년 처음 사형 선고를 받은 이후 이번이 네 번째다. 그는 지난 1988년 쿠르드족의 분리 독립을 저지한’안팔 작전’을 실행하면서 화학가스를 무차별적으로 사용해 쿠르드인 수천명을 사망케 해 ‘케미컬 알리(Chemical Ali)’로도 잘 알려져 있다. 지난 주 이라크에서는 마지드 외에도 남성 11명이 테러 혐의로 사형을 선고 받았다. 이들 11명 모두 자백에 의해 유죄판결을 받았다. 하지만 이들의 자백은 고문을 통해서 받아낸 것으로 보인다. 전해지는 바에 의하면, 이들은 독방에 구금돼 있는 동안 고문을 받았고, 재판 또한 공정하지 않았다. 이들 대다수는 변호사조차 제공받지 못했다.
국제앰네스티는 책임자들이 법의심판을 받아야한다고 주장해왔지만, 잔혹한 범죄에 연루된 경우를 포함해서 모든 경우에있어 사형에는 반대한다.
국제앰네스티 중동∙북아프리카국 말콤 스마트(Malcolm Smart) 국장은 “이라크 정부는 심각한 치안 상태에 대한 답으로 사형을 더 많이 사용하는 방식을 택하고 있다.”라고 지적하며, “많은 공격이 자살 폭탄에 의한 것임을 감안하면, 사형이 효과를 내기는커녕 이라크 사회만 더욱 야만적으로 만들 것” 이라고 말했다.
Iraq must halt spiralling death sentences
Amnesty International has called on the Iraqi authorities to halt the mounting number of death sentences being handed out in the run-up to delayed national elections in March.
Last week, 11 men were sentenced to death for allegedly committing terrorist acts including truck bombings, and on Sunday Ali Hassan al-Majid – a former senior official under Saddam Hussain known widely as “Chemical Ali” – was sentenced to death for the fourth time.
“The Iraqi authorities have been using the death penalty increasingly in response to the grave security situation that continues to prevail in the country and which has seen numerous murderous attacks on civilians,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.
“However, this is not the answer. This is further brutalising Iraqi society and the fact that many attacks are carried out by suicide bombers indicates that it is certainly not an effective deterrent.”
Little information about the trial of the 11 is available but in other cases it is known that trials before the Iraqi Central Criminal Court (ICCC) have been woefully inadequate, with defendants being convicted on the basis of confessions that they made allegedly under torture while held incommunicado in pre-trial detention. Many defendants did not even have lawyers of their choice to defend them.
“Trials before the ICCC consistently fall short of international fair trial standards, according to evidence we have previously gathered,” said Malcolm Smart.
In some cases, alleged “confessions” made by defendants have been broadcast on Iraqi state television.
In the wake of the 19 August 2009 Baghdad attack, an Iraqi TV channel showed a video of one of the defendants, Wissam ‘Ali Kadhem Ibrahim, confessing to planning one of the two truck bombings – but there was no indication whether this “confession” was freely given or obtained under duress.
Another court, the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal, sentenced Saddam Hussain’s cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid – or “Chemical Ali” – to death for the fourth time. He was sentenced after being convicted of ordering a gas attack on the town of Halabja, which killed more than 5,600 members of Iraq’s Kurdish minority in 1988.
“The Halabja killings were one of the very gravest crimes committed under Saddam Hussain’s government,” said Malcolm Smart. “We have called since 1988 for those responsible to be held to account. At the same time, we oppose the death penalty in all cases, even those involving the most heinous crimes.”