Serious Human Rights Violations in Iraq: Abdullah Al Qahtani executed without recourse to his fundamental human rights

July 2015

Abdullah Al Qahtani, a Saudi national on death row in Iraq for 5 years, was arbitrarily and without warning, executed.

Abdullah spent 5 years on death row in Iraq, following a trial which did not comply with fair trial standards and on the basis of evidence, the legitimacy of which has been undermined. The facts of Abdullah’s case are set out in our previous article: Quist defends Abdullah al Qahtani, facing imminent risk of execution in Iraq

It was hoped that the formation of a new Iraqi government in 2014 would bring systemic change and invigorate the court process in order to encourage fresh review and consideration of Abdullah’s case.

Unfortunately, the new government’s intentions and efforts were impeded by, amongst other things, the severe deterioration in the security situation across Iraq, as various areas of the country fell under the control of extremist groups. The government’s attention and resources were consequently diverted to more pressing concerns. Regrettably, this meant that there was little progress in Abdullah’s legal case.

Quist managed to keep Abdullah’s case in the limelight thereby preventing the Iraqi government from executing him, as international attention was drawn to the case.

Very regrettably, the Saudi and Iraqi governments resorted to diplomatic dialogue without preserving the input of lawyers and other international organisations.

When the attention to Abdullah’s case was lost, Abdullah was executed without warning.

We encourage the Iraqi government to halt all executions until the current situation is under control. The Quist team believes that the Iraqi government should call a moratorium on all executions until the security situation is stable and resources become available to enable the judicial system to undertake a comprehensive review and overhaul of its systems, procedures and policies, as well as a case-by-case review in respect of the individuals on death row. It is vital, particularly in these difficult times, that our shared values are upheld in the face of the current adversity, to ensure that no further individuals pay the ultimate sacrifice as a result of a miscarriage of justice.