Iraq hangs three people convicted of terrorism: security source
Three Iraqis convicted of "terrorism" were hanged on Monday, a security source said, days after a deadly double suicide attack in a crowded Baghdad marketplace killed over 30 people.
The reported hangings came after rights groups warned Iraq may authorise a spree of such executions in a show of strength following the bombings on Thursday, which were claimed by the Islamic State group.
"Three people convicted under Article 4 of the anti-terror law were executed on Monday at the Nasiriyah central prison," the security source told AFP, on condition of anonymity.
On Sunday, an official from Iraq's presidency told AFP more than 340 execution orders "for terrorism or criminal acts" were ready to be carried out.
"We are continuing to sign off on more," that official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Another official from Iraq's presidency said Monday that all the orders were signed after 2014, most of them under ex-president Fuad Massum and at a time when IS occupied a third of the country.
Thursday's attack, which killed at least 32 people, was a jolting reminder of the persistent threat posed by IS, despite the government declaring victory over the jihadists in late 2017.
A 2005 law carries the death penalty for anyone convicted of "terrorism," which can include membership of an extremist group even if they are not convicted of any specific acts.
Rights groups have warned that executions were being used for political reasons.
"Leaders resort to announcements of mass executions simply to signal to the public that they're taking... (these issues) seriously," said Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch.
"The death penalty is used as a political tool more than anything else," she told AFP on Sunday.