Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An Iraqi court has sentenced 24 alleged Islamic State militants to death, for their involvement in the Camp Speicher military base massacre in June 2014. All the accused, of Iraqi nationality, have pleaded not guilty and claim that police officers, used torture to extract a confession. The judges denied the charges and handed down the sentence "on the basis of overwhelming evidence."
Now the decision will be sent to the Baghdad High Court, which will have to decide whether to endorse it or not. According to a court spokesman, another 604 people are involved in the massacre of the soldiers and are "on the national police wanted list". Ali Abdul Hamza, brother of one of the victims, said: "We are relieved to see that justice has run its course, and that these criminals have been given the most severe penalty".
In June 2014 an Islamic State commando attacked the military base at Camp Speicher and killed about 1,700 soldiers, mostly Shiite recruits. The terrorists later posted photos and video of the massacre online. After the reconquer of Tikrit by Iraqi forces, dozens of people were arrested in relation to this brutal incident.
At the moment the team of forensics are exhuming the victims in mass graves or thrown into the river Tigris, in order to analyze the remains. About 470 bodies have been already reassembled, but the government made it clear that this "will continue in order to give them all a proper burial."
The execution took place by hanging. The militiamen are members of the Islamic State, who attacked the military training base in 2014. A massacre published online by Daesh which had provoked anger and outrage in the country. Criticism of activists and pro-human rights NGOs that denounce summary trials.
For Iraq's current Prime Minister the sentence ends the dark period of the tyranny. Others call it the outcome of US manipulation. Iraqi President Talabani refuses to sign the death sentence since he personally opposes the death penalty.