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Iraq Transition

Iraq executions first since Saddam

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Iraq
Capital Punishment
Saddam Hussein
Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Iraqi government on Thursday hanged three people convicted of murder and rape, according to Laith Kubba, spokesman for the prime minister's office.

It is the first time since the Saddam Hussein government was toppled two years ago that such executions were carried out.

The executions were carried out in Baghdad after the condemned were found guilty by a criminal court in Wasit province in southeastern Iraq, Reuters reported.

Saddam's regime was accused of executing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, prompting many Western governments and rights groups to call for the death penalty to be abolished following its collapse.

But Kubba said capital punishment would help deter crime, which has spiraled amid the suicide bombings and kidnappings and the insurgency that have disrupted Iraqi life since the U.S. invasion in 2003.

"This is not an easy thing to do," Kubba said. "Despite all the condemnation from states who want us to abolish capital punishment, I think capital punishment will help us deter some criminals."

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