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May 13th, 2007

Save Samar

Samar Saed Abdullah is a victim of an unjust judicial system; one based on an appallingly dreadful parody of a democratic system. After being convicted from a coerced confession after torture, Samar may become one of over one hundred people executed by the Iraqi government since August of 2004 when the death penalty was reinstated by the new Iraqi-controlled government.

Every Wednesday, those sentenced to die are called - seemingly randomly and with no prior warning – to the gallows. Samar has endured the bated terror of Wednesdays for two years now; never knowing during those agonizing twenty-four hours if she will be called to hang for a crime of which she is innocent.

Even more heart breaking to Samar's story is the knowledge that she banks everything – including her sanity - on the faint hope of an appeal. The stark truth is that the appeal was long ago denied; a fact her loved ones cannot bear to divulge to her.

There is little hope for Samar, her appeals lawyer, Ali Azzawi confirms.

In 2004, Samar's husband locked her in the kitchen of her wealthy uncle's home and murdered him, his wife, and grown daughter. He then threatened to kill Samar if she did not tell him where her uncle kept his gold. He ran off – not to be heard from since – and Samar was picked up by authorities later in the day.

Her "confession" came only after she was tortured. Her "trial" – if it could be called that – began and ended in one day. Her testimony was disregarded, and she was sentenced to die for her crimes. Her allegations of torture were never investigated, though under Iraqi law, they should have been.

Amnesty International is working hard to save Samar, and others like her. They have been successful on two accounts so far of appealing sentences; one of a woman who was severely and brutally tortured and raped to force her "confession".

Unfortunately, every week that passes could make it too late for Samar – any Wednesday it is her name that could be called.

A few other blogs have taken up the call to help Samar and get her story – and others' like hers – heard. People are rallying and trying to help…but will it be enough?

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