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Rights Monitors Slam Iraq Over Executions

The U.S.-based monitoring group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized Iraqi authorities for carrying out at least 65 executions since the beginning of this year.

In a February 9 statement, HRW said the Iraqi criminal justice system remains flawed and confessions by suspects are often coerced.

The group urged the Iraqi government to declare an immediate moratorium on all executions.

Fourteen Iraqis, most of them accused of being members of Al-Qaeda, were reported executed on February 8.

An Iraqi official was quoted as telling HRW: "You should expect more executions in the coming days and weeks."

According to the United Nations, more than 1,200 people have been sentenced to death in Iraq since 2004.

Nearly 50 crimes are punishable by execution in the country.

with agency reports