Spanish government “concerned” for use of death penalty in Iraq

The Spanish government has responded in writing to the question moved by senators Gorka Elejabarrieta Diaz (Euskal Herria Bildu) and Jordi Marti Deulofeu (Esquerra Republicana) regarding the death penalty handed out to Abdurrahman Er and Mazlum Dağ.

In its answer the government said: “Spain closely follows the situation of Human Rights in Iraq, both in its bilateral relations and in the framework of the European Union and multilateral forums, mainly through the different mechanisms for monitoring and protecting them, in coherence with our international commitments and the priority nature of human rights in our foreign policy.”

The Spanish government reiterates that “the use of the death penalty in Iraq is of particular concern to the Government. Spain maintains a firm position against the death penalty and rejects it in all cases and circumstances, regardless of the crime committed, considering it a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, contrary to the dignity of the human being, with irreparable effects on case of judicial error and that lacks dissuasive effects on criminal behavior.”

The Spanish executive added that “the fight against the death penalty is one of the priorities of Spain’s foreign policy regarding human rights” and repeated its call for “a moratorium, as an intermediate step to achieve the abolition that constitutes the final objective.”

The Spanish government also said that “in line with these objectives, Spain has had the opportunity to convey to the Iraqi authorities its concern about the use of the death penalty. In the framework of the most recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Iraq, in November 2019, and in line with the recommendation already made in the previous UPR of Iraq, in 2014, Spain recommended the adoption of legislative reforms aimed at restricting the application of the death penalty to the most serious crimes.”

Finally the government said that “Spain coordinates its action with the European Union and the rest of the member states in monitoring and opposing the use of the death penalty in Iraq, among others, within the framework of mechanisms such as the EU-Iraq Human Rights and Democracy Subcommittee, whose last meeting took place on September 8.

Furthermore, pursuant to the European Union Guidelines on the death penalty, the European Union closely monitors the use of the death penalty in Iraq and carries out, where appropriate, actions on behalf of all Member States. In this context, it is also worth mentioning the Statement of November 19 by the Spokesperson for the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy condemning the twenty-one executions that had taken place a few days earlier in Al Hoot prison.”