Iraqi authorities execute 36 convicted in Islamic State massacre

Iraqi authorities on Sunday executed 36 men convicted of involvement in the massacre of hundreds of soldiers by the Islamic State extremist militia two years ago, state television al-Iraqiya reported.

The executions were carried out in the Central al-Nasiriyah Prison in southern Iraq while in the presence of government officials and relatives of the executed soldiers, Justice Minister Haider al-Zamli said, according to Iraqi news website Almada Press.

Al-Zamli confirmed the hangings Sunday morning at a press conference inside the prison, saying that "the executions were implemented after the presidency endorsed them," without giving additional details.

All the executed convicts are believed to be Iraqis.

In February, a criminal court in Baghdad convicted them of complicity in Islamic State's execution of 1,700 army recruits after the group overran the northern city of Tikrit in mid-2014.

The radical Sunni organization said at the time that it had executed the Shiite soldiers following their surrender after fleeing Camp Speicher, an airbase near Tikrit.

Human Rights Watch estimated that 770 soldiers had been killed, while Baghdad put the official toll at 1,700.

Photographs published by the Islamic State extremist militia showed large groups of young men being rounded up, driven in the backs of trucks to fields, and then made to lie on the ground in rows as gunmen apparently opened fire on them.

The killings led to repeated demands from the victims' families for the government to establish the fate of their sons and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Several mass graves containing the remains of the victims were found in Tikrit after government forces recaptured it from Islamic State last year. In recent months, Iraqi forces, backed by US-led airstrikes, have regained ground in several areas of the country.

Last update: Sun, 21/08/2016 - 14:00
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