[JURIST] Iraq's growing use of the death penalty [JURIST news archive] since its reinstatement in 2004 has given the country the fourth-highest execution rate in the world - surpassed only by China, Iran, and Pakistan - according to a report [text] released Friday by Amnesty International [advocacy website]. According to the report, more than 270 people have been sentenced to death in Iraq and more than 100 people have actually been executed since 2005. The report specifically criticized the trial and subsequent execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein [JURIST news archive] and three of his co-defendants for its failure "to meet international fair trial standards," and condemned the reintroduction of the death penalty as a step backwards.
Iraqi government officials have dismissed similar criticism in the past, saying that the death penalty is a fundamental component of implementing Islamic law. Senior Iraqi judge Jafar al-Musawi criticized the report, telling BBC News that criminals in Iraq had more rights than in many western countries. Reuters has more. BBC News has additional coverage.