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UN rights chief criticizes Iraq over numerous executions

GENEVA - The top United Nations human rights official criticized Iraq on Tuesday for carrying out a large number of executions, including 34 on a single day last week, and voiced concern about due process and the fairness of trials.
"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," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said, in a statement referring to executions carried out on January 19."Given the lack of transparency in court proceedings, major concerns about due process and fairness of trials, and the very wide range of offenses for which the death penalty can be imposed in Iraq, it is a truly shocking figure," she added.
At least 63 people are believed to have been executed since mid-November in Iraq, where the death penalty can be imposed for some 48 crimes including a number related to non-fatal crimes such as damage to public property, Pillay said.
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