Iraq sentences 40 to death over massacre

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Baghdad:- An Iraqi court on Thursday sentenced 40 men to death over the June 2014 massacre by jihadists and allied militants of hundreds of military recruits in Tikrit, a statement said.

According to a Thursday statement, the central criminal court in Baghdad convicted the group guilty of involvement in the “Speicher” slaughter, which is named after the base near where the victims were captured in the city of Tikrit.

The spokesman for Iraq’s judiciary, Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar, said in the statement that the court ordered the execution of 40 after finding them guilty of having had a role in the incident, while “seven were released for lack of evidence.”

It is not clear how many people were present at the trial and the statement did not provide details on each defendant’s role in the carnage.

The 40 were sentenced to death under Article Four of Iraq’s anti-terrorism law, which says anyone who perpetrates, incites, plans, finances or assists acts of terrorism will be given death sentence.

A similar trial was held last July during which 24 men were sentenced to hang over the mass execution that took place during the first days of Daesh broad offensive in Iraq.

Amnesty International, meanwhile, denounced the Thursday verdict and said the allegations of the unfairness of the trials must be “urgently investigated and a re-trial that meets international fair trial standard should be ordered.”

The rights group says nearly 100 death sentences have been issued in Iraq since January 1.

The Daesh terrorists captured at least 1,700 military cadets from Speicher military camp, mostly Shia, in an attack on the base in Tikrit on June 12, 2014, when they overran the hometown of slain Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The Takfiri group later posted images and video, showing its elements killing Iraqi soldiers after forcing them to lay face-down in a shallow ditch.

The Iraqi government blamed the slaughter on both the militants and members of the defunct Ba’ath party of former dictator, Saddam Hussein.

On March 31, 2015, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the liberation of Tikrit from the hands of the Daesh extremists following weeks of intense fighting.

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