Tricked into the death penalty
by 4WardEver UK – Jan 2010
compiled from various sources
Updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item
Samar Saed Abdullah was sentenced to death in August 2005. She insists she is innocent of the murder of her uncle, his wife and one of their children. She has blamed her fiancé, saying he killed her relatives in order to rob her uncle. Her fiancé was also accused of the murder, but it is not known if the authorities have been able to arrest him. Of the crime she stands accused of she says; “I think about it every day, every hour. I wake up with it in my head,” she said. “It’s the reason I am here.”
In court and in an interview in prison with a CNN reporter, Ms. ‘Abdullah said she only confessed to the murders because she was tortured by the police.
“They kept beating me, and they told me, ‘Say whatever we want you to say, and do not say anything else, and say yes, I was an accomplice to this crime.’ Although I had nothing to do with it. Finally, they made me sign a blank piece of paper, and they filled it out afterwards.”
After the fall of Saddam Hussain in 2003 Iraq was controlled by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which suspended the death penalty.
The interim Iraqi government which took over the following year reinstated the death penalty for a number of offences, and justified it by saying that the death penalty was necessary to deal with the precarious security situation. The first executions were carried out in September 2005. Last year at least 65 people were executed, including two women and former president Saddam Hussain.
Amnesty International has appealed Iraqi authorities on behalf of Abdullah and the other three women on Iraq’s death row. Another group inside Iraq, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, is also seeking to save them.
The group’s head, Dalal Rubaie, says they have successfully appealed cases of two women, including one on death row who, she says, confessed after extensive torture. “She had her fingernails pulled; she was hung from the ceiling; they took pictures of her naked while she was hanging; they cuffed her to a bed and raped her,” Rubaie says.
Rubaie’s organization delivered a letter from the woman that detailed her allegations to the government and made it public on the Internet. She is now awaiting a retrial while her claim is being investigated.
As for Abdullah, she dreads every Wednesday, never knowing if it will be her last day alive. Wednesday is execution day in Iraq, when inmates are led unannounced to the gallows.
“I don’t sleep at all on Wednesdays,” she said. “I stay scared all day.”
In a 2009 statement to the CNN News Network Samar said; “My life is meaningless,” she said, choking on her tears. “I can’t think of anything else. The other women, we try to help each other, but we cannot escape the reality that we are on death row and they can take us at any second.”
Samar became the fiancé of Saif Ali Nur, in the winter of 2004. Her family did not initially approve of the romance, but they eventually warmed to the young man and the idea of a marriage. “I was so happy at the time, when he asked for my hand in marriage, I thought that he was honest, that he did not lie to me. It all happened in just two months.” Samar said.
Samar has claimed that Saif tricked her into taking him to her wealthy uncle’s house where he locked her in the kitchen before shooting her uncle, aunt and cousin. After stealing less than $1,000 he turned the gun on her, threatening to kill her and her family if she went to the authorities. The Iraqi police picked Samar up the next day, after Saif dumped her in front of her house and disappeared.