Target: Mohamed Mahdi Al-Bayati, Minister of Human Rights
Goal: Commute the death sentence of a man whose trial did not meet international fair trial standards
Ahmed al-‘Alwani, a member of Iraq’s Council of Representatives, has been sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial. He has some time to appeal his sentencing, and he needs your help. Sign the petition and demand that Iraq abide by international fair trial standards and commute al-‘Alwani’s sentence.
Al-‘Alwani was sentenced to death for his role in the death of two soldiers. He was charged with “assaulting military assets and killing and injuring security forces for terrorist ends.” The law under which he was sentenced, the 2005 Anti-Terrorism Law, has been associated with a number of unfair trials and executions over the past decade or so.
Al-‘Alwani did not have access to his lawyer or his family during his trial. He did have a legal representation initially, but his lawyer was intimidated and threatened until he backed out of defending his client. Before that, the court did not allow al-‘Alwani’s lawyer to cross-examine witnesses or ask questions, deeming such fundamental parts of the legal process “not productive” in al-‘Alwani’s case. The court also refused to record questions from the defense in the transcript of the hearing.
The death sentence should never be handed down lightly, and it should certainly not be imposed upon someone after a trial that so blatantly violates even the most rudimentary fair trial standards. Sign the petition and demand that Ahmed al-‘Alwani’s sentence be commuted and that Iraq abide by internationally agreed-upon guidelines to ensure a fair trial for everyone.
I am writing to demand justice for Ahmed al-‘Alwani, who has been sentenced to death for the role he played in the deaths of two soldiers. His trial did not even come close to meeting international fair trial standards and his sentence must be commuted.
Al-‘Alwani’s trial was blatantly weighted in favor of the prosecution. The defense was not allowed to cross-examine witnesses or ask questions, and any questions it did ask were not entered into the transcript of the hearing. This, of course, was before al-‘Alwani’s lawyer was removed from the case altogether after being intimidated, threatened, arrested, held for twelve hours, and interrogated regarding his motivation for defending his client. Such actions totally circumvent the legal system and undermine the very concept of justice. With no lawyer, no ability to ask questions, and no opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, why even bother having a trial at all?
Ahmed al-‘Alwani may well have committed the crime of which he is accused. But an unfair trial and the state’s disregard for the judicial process have only served to muddy the waters of his guilt or innocence. Sentencing him to die based on a grossly irregular and unfair trial is reprehensible, amoral, and unjust.
I urge you to do what is right. Commute Ahmed Al-‘Alwani’s sentence and correct the irregularities that plagued his trial.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: CIA via Wikimedia Commons