Iraq Sentences Islamic State Fighters To Death | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Iraq Sentences Islamic State Fighters To Death

Posted: Jul 8, 2015 at 8:11 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

A court in Iraq has sentenced 24 suspected members of Islamic State (IS) to death for their role in the massacre of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers in June 2014.

As many as 1,700 soldiers, most of them Shia Muslim recruits, were killed when the jihadist group overran the Camp Speicher military base near Tikrit.

IS posted graphic photos and videos online documenting the atrocity.

Iraqi government forces arrested dozens of people suspected to have been involved in the massacre after recapturing Tikrit in March.

Forensic teams also began exhuming the remains of victims from mass graves in the area. So far more than 470 bodies have been found at four sites.

The 24 Iraqi nationals sentenced to death by hanging on Wednesday by a court in Baghdad were charged with the killings and membership of a terrorist group.

All of the defendants pleaded not guilty, insisting they had not taken part in one of the worst atrocities committed in Iraq in recent times.

They told the court that their confessions had been coerced under torture by Iraqi officers.

But within hours of the trial’s start, the defendants had been convicted on the basis of what a spokesman for Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council described as strong evidence, said a BBC report.

“We are relieved to see these criminals receiving the maximum punishment,” Ali Abdul Hamza, whose brother was among the victims, told the Associated Press as he left the courtroom.

The sentences should now be sent to a higher court within a month for approval.

Another 604 suspects wanted in connection with the killings remained at large, the judiciary spokesman said.