Thursday, February 15, 2007

Urgent: Iraqi puppet government to execute four women.

While the American government ostentatiously displays the occasional concern for women's rights, the deteriorating prospects for Iraqi women under the occupation have not escaped scrutiny. IRIN, the news agency of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, has repeatedly raised ever starker details of the plight of Iraqi women. Now there are urgent reports coming from Iraq that three Iraqi women, Wassan Talib (31), Zainab Fadhil (25) and Liqa Omar Muhammad (26), are to be executed by the regime without having received a fair trial.

For well over a year, the pro-US government has been carrying out public executions to complement the terror campaign it is conducting alongside US forces. The women are called 'terrorists' because they are alleged to have been 'complicit' in the killing of police officers loyal to the US. Walid Hayali, lawyer and member of The Iraqi Lawyers Union, said the Court issued a ruling against the three women under item 156, without allowing them to engage counsel from a lawyer.

Urgent messages are being sent to antiwar groups all over the world to stop this. According to the Brussels Tribunal, there are thousands of women prisoners in Iraq held as 'security detainees'. "According to Mohamed Khorshid, head of Human rights orgs in Iraq in his statement to Asharq Al Awsat newspaper on 6th April 2006, there are over 2000 women classified as 'security detainees' under the supervision of both the occupation and the Iraqi puppet regime, in various prisons, camps and detention centres."

The Iraqi Human Rights minister, Wijdan Mikhail Salim, has said that there are over 1000 women security detainees. She "denied her own statement within a day after a public outcry."

"It is," the statement continues, "a horrible proof that the illegal executions of Saddam Hussein and other Baath leaders were not 'isolated' or 'exceptional' incidents, but that they laid the groundwork for employment by the Iraqi ruling clique of 'judicially sanctioned' executions as a legitimate 'measure' against those who oppose their puppet regime and the illegal US occupation."

The statement urges people to protest: "We believe it is vitally important to protest and take action, to compel the Iraqi authorities to revoke this sentence. Do appeal to relevant institutions and ask them to intervene to stop this".

According to Walid Hayali of The Iraqi Lawyers Union, the Court issued a ruling against the three women under item 156, without allowing them to engage counsel from a lawyer. He and his organisation are pleading "with the whole world" to "stop the execution of the three women and to condemn the Court's ruling". He adds that Liqa Omar Muhammad gave birth to her daughter in prison a few months ago and is still nursing the child, and Wassan Talib has a three-year-old daughter. The three women are now in "Kazimiah prison" in the Kazimiyah region, and they are scheduled to be executed on 3 March 2007. As there was no lawyer permitted, there could be no appeal.

Amnesty International states that there is an additional woman condemned to be hanged for "the murder of her uncle, his wife and three of their children in the al-Khudra district of Baghdad". Amnesty state that she has accused her fiance of the crime, and confirm that he too was arrested, but are not aware of the charges.

Send your protest letters to Iraq's Justice minister: Hashim al Shilbi: head-minister@iraqi-justice.org