10 December 2007
Prevent execution of tortured woman
Samar Sa'ad 'Abdullah was sentenced to death in August 2005. She insists she is innocent of the murder of her uncle, his wife and one of their children. She has blamed her fiancé, saying he killed her relatives in order to rob her uncle. Her fiancé was also accused of the murder but it is not known if the authorities have been able to arrest him.

In court and in an interview in prison by a CNN reporter, Samar insisted that she is innocent. She said that she only confessed to the murders because she was tortured by the police. She is detained at al-Kadhimiya Women's Prison in Baghdad and faces execution unless she is pardoned or her sentence is commuted by the president.

After the fall of Saddam Hussain in April 2003 Iraq was controlled by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which suspended the death penalty. The interim Iraqi government which took over the following year reinstated the death penalty for a number of offences, and justified it by saying that the death penalty was necessary to deal with the precarious security situation.

The first executions were carried out in September 2005. Last year at least 65 people were executed, including two women and former president Saddam Hussain.

Former officials have been sentenced to death by the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal (SICT) set up to bring to justice people suspected of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The CPA established the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI), which can also impose the death sentence and has jurisdiction over terrorist offences, organized crime, corruption and sectarian violence.

Take ActionThere have been serious shortcomings in cases where the CCCI has imposed a death sentence. These include confessions obtained through torture and other ill-treatment, pre-trial televised "confessions", and suspects having insufficient access to lawyers.
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Prevent the execution of Samar Sa'ad 'Abdullah

Dear Prime Minister,
I call on you to commute the death sentence imposed on Samar Sa'ad 'Abdullah and to investigate allegations of torture fully and to hold anyone found responsible to account.
Please commute all death sentences that have been passed since August 2004 and immediately impose a moratorium on executions as a key step towards the abolition of the death penalty.
Yours sincerely,

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