Legal aid sought for Saudi death row prisoner in Iraq

October 3, 2012 http://www.saudigazette.com.sa

ABHA  The mother of a man on death row in Iraq has appealed to the Saudi government to provide legal aid for her son before he is executed.

Zaina Al-Shehri’s son Ali Hassan Fadhil Al-Shehri was sentenced to death in Iraq on terrorism charges and is reportedly due to be executed before the Eid Al-Adha holidays.

Ali’s father told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that he travelled to Jordan to meet the Saudi ambassador and find out if reports that he will be executed before Eid are true.

The diplomat told the father the embassy is waiting for a letter from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be able follow up with Iraqi authorities regarding his son’s case.He added: “The ambassador told me that I can follow up my son’s case through a lawyer who will be appointed by the embassy.

” Meanwhile, Iraqi Minister of Justice Hassan Halboos said the Al-Malki government has the power to delay the execution of death sentences.

In response to an inquiry by the United Nations about the increasing number of death sentences implemented in Iraq lately, the minister said only the Iraqi Council of Ministers can recommend the delay of executions.

His ministry does not have such powers, he added.

Sources in the ministry told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that the minister explained to the local UN representative that commuting a death sentence in Iraq requires a thorough study.

The minister also told the UN representative that his ministry received requests from several humanitarian organizations asking it not to enforce the court verdicts and commute the death sentences to life imprisonment instead.

Those organizations were critical of the execution of 26 people in a space of only two days.

Dr. Talal Al-Zawbaee, a member of the Iraqi parliament, told the Iraqi government the recent spate of executions would put the government in a tight position before international organizations.

He also said such actions would make the international community wonder why people from the same religious factions were executed in the space of two days.

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