[JURIST] A spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Tuesday spoke against the execution [press release] of an Iraqi man and his two wives in the Kurdistan region. Human rights officials feared that the hanging could mark a move back towards greater use of the death penalty despite a 2008 “informal moratorium” in Kurdistan. Farhad Jaafar Mahmood, Khuncha Hassan Ismaeil and Berivan Haider Karim, who were convicted [AP report] in April of last year, were hung earlier this month.
The death penalty has been a controversial issue worldwide. In October UN officials called on the government of Iraq to impose a moratorium [JURIST report] on the death penalty in response to a significant rise in executions since the country restored capital punishment in 2005. Earlier that month UN rights officials called for the international abolition of the death penalty [JURIST report]. In April of this year Amnesty International reported an “alarming rise”[JURIST report] in death sentences around the world in 2014. The advocacy organization said that there has been a 28 percent rise in death sentences from 2013 and that an increased number of countries used capital punishment to deter crime, terrorism and domestic instability.