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Off nearly tenfold, UN lowers number of condemned in Iraq

By the CNN Wire Staff
Despite the correction, the report warned that the overall human rights situation in Iraq remained a matter of concern.
Despite the correction, the report warned that the overall human rights situation in Iraq remained a matter of concern.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • United Nations corrects news release on prisoners facing execution in Iraq
  • Report gave number as 12,000; corrected figure put at 1,254 as of December 31
  • 124 people had been executed since the practice resumed in May 2009
  • Agencies urge a moratorium on the practice
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Baghdad, Iraq (CNN) -- The United Nations on Tuesday corrected a news release issued July 8 that put the number of prisoners facing execution in Iraq at 12,000, nearly 10 times the true number.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said in a joint news release that the corrected figure was 1,254 prisoners as of December 31, 2009.

The report on the human rights situation in Iraq showed improvements in security but warned that the overall situation remained a matter of concern.

The Ministry of Human Rights said that 124 people -- four of them women -- had been executed since the practice resumed in May 2009: about 15 people per month.

The UN agencies expressed concern over death sentences in Iraq, recommending that a moratorium be declared on the death penalty pending a review of the practice.

"UNAMI continues to receive reports of persons detained or imprisoned on the basis of confessions obtained under duress or torture," the report said. "Until the issues surrounding such violations are addressed, the concern will remain that the use of death penalty may be arbitrary and contrary to international human rights standards."

The study, which covered July through December 2009, also documented killings of government officials, high-profile figures and journalists.

It cited Iraqi government figures that said at least 4,068 civilians were killed and 15,935 wounded in Iraq last year.