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UN Criticizes Move To Speed Up Executions In Iraq

The United Nations criticized Iraq's move to fast-track death sentences handed out by the country's courts.

"Given the weaknesses of the Iraqi justice system, I am gravely concerned that innocent people have been and may continue to be convicted and executed, resulting in gross, irreversible miscarriages of justice," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

The UN has found "a consistent failure to respect due process and fair trial standards, including a reliance on torture to extract confessions" in Iraq, he said. "Fast-tracking executions will only accelerate injustice."

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi created a committee last month to accelerate executions amid growing criticism for the lack of security in Baghdad.

An Islamic State group bombing in a busy shopping district in downtown Baghdad killed over 300 people on July 3. After the bombing, Iraq executed five prisoners on death row.

Hussein said he understood how such attacks "stoke the fires of vengeance... But vengeance is not justice."

Amnesty International says Iraq regularly ranks among the top five countries in the world for executions and so far in 2016, it has executed at least 105 people.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP