Iraq Rejects Call to Abolish Death Penalty

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Iraq has rejected calls to abolish or suspend capital punishment made during a review by the U.N.'s top human rights body.

Some 20 countries had urged Iraq to end the death penalty that has been used against high-profile members of the former regime of Saddam Hussein and in the country's crackdown against insurgent groups.

Iraq has also dismissed suggestions that it should reduce the number of crimes for which the death penalty can be imposed.

The country told the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday that it also wouldn't commit to investigating abuse against gays or decriminalize homosexuality.

Neither would it raise the age of penal responsibility to 18 years. It is currently 9 in most of Iraq and 11 in Kurdistan.