US-installed Iraqi government imposes a culture of death and derogation of women’s rights
Hanging the womb of Iraq: Stop the executions!
Statement by Hana Albayaty, Ian Douglas, Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Iman Saadoon, Dirk Adriaensens and Ayse Berktay, Members of the BRussells Tribunal Committee
14 February 2007
Wassan Talib, 31 years old, Zainab Fadhil, 25 years old, and Liqa Omar Muhammad, 26 years old, face imminent execution in Iraq, all charged with “offences against the public welfare” by a government that cannot even provide electricity but fills the streets with dead bodies. All are in Baghdad’s Al-Kadhimiya Prison. Two have small children beside them. The 1-year-old daughter of Liqa was born in prison. All women deny the charges for which they face hanging.
Paragraph 156 of the Iraqi Penal Code, under which they were judged, reads: “Any person who wilfully commits an act with intent to violate the independence of the country or its unity or the security of its territory and that act by its nature, leads to such violation is punishable by death.” Iraq’s “puppet” government charges these women with its own crimes.
None of the three women was permitted to see a lawyer. The trials to which they were subject are illegal under international law. All three are prisoners of war with protected rights under the Third Geneva Convention. Their execution would not only be illegal and summary, it would be utterly immoral. Civilization around the world reviles the death penalty while Iraq’s feudal leaders make a public spectacle of executions.
In a country where it is evident there is no state or judicial system, the occupation and its puppet government use, as all repressive regimes in history, fake tribunals to exterminate those who oppose them. No legal judgement can be issued while there isn’t the civilised conditions of due process, at least the presence and security of lawyers.
Iraqi women are testament to the life of the nation of Iraq. By contrast, the US-installed government, in its backwardness, imposes only a culture of death. Whereas Iraq was the most progressive state in the region for women’s rights, with the US invasion protective legislation was cancelled. The United States and its local conspirators, in creating hundreds of thousands of widows and reducing life in Iraq to a struggle for bare survival, have placed women in the crosshairs and now on the gallows.
Women are always the first and last victims of war. We celebrate the numberless acts of resistance of Iraqi women, whether their resilience in the face of a culture of rape, torture and murder by US and Iraqi forces, their fortitude in continuing to give life amid state-sponsored genocide, their dignity as they try to maintain a semblance of normality for their children and families, their courage in burying their husbands, sons, daughters or brothers, or in direct action against an illegal and failed military occupation.
We demand the release of Wassan, Zainab and Liqa and all political prisoners in Iraq. We call upon all persons, organisations, parliaments, workers, syndicates and states to withdraw recognition from this pro-occupation, sectarian Iraqi government. We call for immediate protest in front of every Iraqi embassy worldwide. There is no honour in murdering women. Occupation is the highest form of dictatorship. It is not these three women who should be prosecuted; it is this government and its foreign paymaster.
Abdul Ilah Albayaty
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The Signatories are Members of the BRussells Tribunal Committee