Incidence of Crime

Iraq Table of Contents

The Baathist regime introduced a variety of laws, of which the most important was a 1969 penal code that expanded the definition of crime to include acts detrimental to the political, the economic, and the social goals of the state. Baathist hegemony in the political sphere, for example, was enforced by a law making it a crime to insult the state or its leaders publicly. Economic goals were also enforced by several laws--a 1970 trade regulation, for example, made both the selling of goods at prices other than those fixed by the state and the production of inferior products felonies. The government's free education program was enforced by a law making it a crime to refuse to participate.

The more traditionally defined kinds of crime, including theft, forgery, bribery, the misappropriation of public funds, and murder, followed the pattern of most developing states. No adequate statistical data for Iraq were available in 1987, however. Amnesty International reported in 1986 that degrading treatment of prisoners, arbitrary arrests, and denial of fair public trials were common. In 1985 and in 1986, several highranking officials, including the mayor of Baghdad, were tried for corruption, were found guilty, and were executed. Presumably, the purpose of these sentences was to make it clear that criminals would be punished, regardless of their status.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress