Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 17, 2013

Iraq executes 21 men convicted of terrorism

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's Justice Ministry says authorities have executed 21 prisoners convicted on terrorism charges and links to al-Qaida.

The ministry said Wednesday the executions were carried out on Tuesday by hanging. It says all the men were Iraqi al-Qaida operatives who were involved in bombings, car bomb attacks and assassinations.

The hangings brought the number of prisoners executed in Iraq so far this year to 50.

Iraq has dismissed calls from international human rights organizations to reconsider capital punishment. Executions are usually carried out by hanging.

Last year, Iraq executed 129 people, triggering concerns among rights groups on whether defendants received a fair trial.

According to the London-based Amnesty International, Iraq was ranked fourth among the top five executioners in the world in 2011, after China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and U.S.

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