Iraq hangs 36 militants over 2014 Camp Speicher massacre in Tikrit
Iraqi soldiers stand next to a mass grave in Tikrmt. (AFP/File)
Thirty-six men were executed by hanging by Iraqi authorities on Sunday over the 2014 massacre by extremists and allied militants of hundreds of military recruits according to official reports.
The convicted were found guilty of involvement in the "Speicher" massacre, named after a base located close to Tikrit where up to 1,700 cadets were kidnapped before being killed in an attack claimed by the Daesh militant group.
Outrage over the massacre of the mostly Shia cadets caused Iraq's Shia militias to mobilize against Daesh.
"The executions of 36 convicted over the Speicher crime were carried out this morning in Nasiriyah prison," a spokesman for the governor's office in Dhiqar, the province of which Nasiriyah is the capital, told AFP.
"The governor of Dhiqar, Yahya Al-Nasseri and Justice Minister Haidar Al-Zamili were present to oversee the executions," Abdelhassan Dawood said.
"They were transferred to Nasiriyah last week after the president approved the executions," he said, referring to permission granted by president Fuad Masum.
The massacre was named after Camp Speicher, after the first US casualty of the 1991 "Desert Storm" Gulf war against Iraq. The camp had been full of Iraqi army recruits and surrendered after it was surrounded by extremists.
Among the thousands of captives taken by the militants, Shia men were sorted out, bound and taken away in trucks. They were then forced to lie face down on the ground before being shot dead. Their bodies were dumped in prepared trenches.
The Daesh group revelled in the atrocity, posting on the internet videos and pictures showing the Shia prisoners being taken away and shot.
Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has declared his intention to expedite the execution of those sentenced to death in cases relating to militant extremism.
The Dhiqar governor confirmed that the executions were carried out by hanging.