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Iraq Executes 17 Despite Human Rights Condemnation

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Ignoring an international outcry for a moratorium on capital punishment, Iraq's Justice Ministry announced on Monday that 17 people were executed, without specifying when the hangings actually occurred.

Sixteen of those put to death were convicted under Iraq's anti-terrorism law.  Other than a single Egyptian national, all the people on death row were Iraqi.

So far in 2013, the government has carried out 67 executions, compared to 129 for all of last year.

It wasn't known if any of the people put to death might have been escapees who were recaptured after a massive prison break last July, in which hundreds of detainees with ties to al Qaeda got away.

The United Nations, the European Union and a number of human rights groups have condemned Iraq's use of the death penalty, charging that many confessions were obtained under torture, while decrying the court system as often being inadequate.

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