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257 people hanged in Iraq

Iraq executed by hanging 257 people, including six women, from 2005 to date, mostly for crimes of murder, terrorism, kidnapping, drug trafficking and crimes against humanity, reported a government source on Friday.

According to Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim, the executions began in August 2005 and 37 people are now in the so-called death row awaiting the death penalty after its approval by the Presidential Council.

Information released in Beijing by Ibrahim stated that 251 men and six women were killed since the Iraqi government lifted the moratorium on the death penalty, which was adopted under US pressure after the military invasion of March 2003.

This measure was taken after the execution of the former president Saddam Hussein, who was overthrown and captured by US troops in his native town of Tikrit.

Official data report that so far in 2010, 17 people have been killed, a figure substantially lower than the one in 2009 when there were 124 Iraqis executed, including four women.

Ibrahim said, on the other hand, that until December 9, in the country there were 24,783 people held in prisons of the Ministry of Justice, both convicted and detained, and of that total 130 are juveniles accused of offenses, while 45 are awaiting trial.

Among the prisoners there also are 341 women, 241 of whom are in preventive detention.

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