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Iraqi authorities execute 11 inmates after terrorism convictions

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 8:47 PM EDT, Sun October 7, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Iraq's justice ministry says the prisoners had "carried out killings and explosions"
  • Authorities have executed dozens of inmates in recent months
  • The executions have sparked concern from human rights advocates

(CNN) -- Iraqi authorities executed 11 prisoners on Sunday after they were convicted of terrorism, Iraq's Ministry of Justice said in a statement.

"They had carried out killings and explosions against Iraqi people," the ministry said.

Authorities have executed dozens of inmates in recent months, despite a United Nations call for restraint.

Six people were executed on Thursday after they were convicted of terrorism, officials said.

More than 100 people have been executed since November, according to a CNN tally. Sixty-five of them were put to death in the first 40 days of 2012.

The execution of large groups of prisoners has draw attention from human rights advocates, who have raised concerns about the fairness of trials and transparency of court proceedings.

"Our main concern is, what were these people actually convicted of?"Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, told CNN in August. "Terrorism does not tell us very much."

After 34 inmates were executed on one day earlier this year, the United Nations' top human rights official said she was shocked and called on the country to implement a moratorium on the death penalty.

"Even if the most scrupulous fair trial standards were observed, this would be a terrifying number of executions to take place in a single day," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said at the time.

The executions come as Iraq smolders with sectarian tension and political infighting.

Violence in Iraq surged last month, with 365 deaths reported, the Interior Ministry said Monday. That's the deadliest single month since August 2010, when the toll reached 426, the ministry said.

Insurgent attacks against civilians and security forces persist in the country, though violence has dropped dramatically since the peak of Sunni-Shiite clashes in 2006 and 2007.

Baghdad's Shiite-dominated government has blamed the recent attacks on Sunni insurgents with ties to al Qaeda.

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