An Iraqi official confirmed Wednesday the execution of more than 100 prisoners in a prison in a Shiite district of Baghdad, the same where Saddam Hussein was hanged, but denied an earlier report that the executions were illegal and clandestine.
An article in London’s The Independent Tuesday reported that there have been hundreds of executions, including hangings, at Baghdad's "high-security detention facility" under the supervision of the democratically elected government of Nouri al-Maliki.
"All the executions were carried out by court orders, and their cases have gone through all the appeals granted by the Iraqi constitution," Hamza Kamel, official spokesman of the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights told AlArabiya.net.
He added that an investigating judge always attends the execution process along with Sunni and Shiite representatives, the head of the correction department and a physician from the Ministry of Health.
But an Iraqi security official, who asked for his name to be withheld, said that illegal executions were carried out in Kazimiyah prison last year, but had stopped now.
"According to the documents, the prisoner is released, but he never goes back home. He is killed then his body is found later," he told AlArabiya.net in an exclusive interview.
The security official said that American troops had arrested the former prisoner manager ,Brigadier General Abu Turab, and that the prison was supervised by sectarian militias.
He attributed the illegal executions to the fact that the officials in charge of inspecting prisons belonged to Shiite militias, and that the Ministry of Human Rights was not doing its job.
The Kazimiyah detention center was the military intelligence headquarters of the previous regime and is now being run by the Ministries of Interior and Justice.
The prison is divided in two parts, the first houses detainees and is run by the Ministry of Interior and subject to regular visits by the Ministry of Human Rights. The other section is where sentenced prisoners are transferred and is run by the Ministry of Justice, according to Kamel.
He added that all detention centers keep records of each prisoner on CD.
Capital punishment was suspended in Iraq in 2003 but resumed in August 2004.
According to a 2007 Ministry of Human Rights report, the number of death verdicts reached 435, with 109 executions, 35 appeals and 326 commuted sentences.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)