Dozens of ISIS fanatics who carried out the massacre of 1,700 Iraqi army recruits have been hanged in front of their victims’ relatives.
The 36 jihadists had been found guilty of involvement in the ‘Speicher’ massacre, named after a base near Tikrit in Iraq where the recruits were kidnapped before being butchered by terrorists.
While the United Nations and other groups opposing capital punishment speak out against the fast-track executions, many who have had their family members slaughtered in such a cruel manner applaud the elimination of ISIS members by what ever method possible. According to Dawood, ‘Tens of relatives attended the executions.’
‘They shouted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), they were happy to see those people dead.’
Among them was Najla Shaab, a 30-year-old woman whose husband was slaughtered in the massacre, leaving her to raise their children alone.
‘Thank you God, it’s a fair punishment for the worst crime, a triple crime of killing, throwing bodies in the river and burying people alive,’ she told AFP by phone.
From The Daily Mail
Officials say relatives of some of the extremists’ victims attended the mass hanging at Nasiriyah prison.
ISIS captured an estimated 1,700 soldiers after seizing Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit in 2014. The soldiers were trying to flee from nearby Camp Speicher, a former US base just outside the northern city.
Shortly after taking Tikrit, ISIS posted graphic images of gunmen shooting the men dead after forcing them to lie face down in a shallow ditch.
The Speicher massacre sparked outrage across Iraq and partially fueled the mobilisation of Shiite militias in the fight against ISIS, a Sunni extremist group. The militias now rival the power of Iraq’s conventional armed forces.
Iraqi forces arrested dozens of men allegedly linked to the massacre after retaking Tikrit in 2015 with the help of US-led airstrikes.
The men executed on Sunday were sentenced to death by an Iraqi court earlier this year.
Following the death of more than 300 people in the worst ever single bomb attack to strike Baghdad last month, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had said he wanted to expedite the execution of inmates sentenced to death in terrorism cases.
A Dhiqar governor confirmed to AFP that the executions were carried out by hanging. His spokesman said that around 400 of the Speicher massacre victims were from the Dhiqar province, which is predominantly Shiite and located in Iraq’s south.
One of the sites of the massacre was the former river police building inside former president Saddam Hussein’s palace complex in Tikrit.
Video footage subsequently released by ISIS showed an assembly-line massacre in which gunmen herded their victims towards the quay, shot them in the back of the head and pushed them in the water one after the other.
The trials that have led to Iraq’s latest batches of death sentences have been severely criticized by rights groups as failing to meet basic standards.
Amnesty International had slammed Iraq’s systematic resort to the death penalty following the execution of 22 other people in May this year.
‘The use of the death penalty is deplorable in all circumstances, and it is particularly horrendous when applied after grossly unfair trials marred by allegations of confessions extracted under torture as is frequently the case in Iraq,’ the group’s Iraq researcher Diana Eltahawy said.
The United Nations had criticised Abadi’s call to speed up executions, which according to Amnesty already topped 100 for 2016 before Sunday’s hangings.
‘Fast-tracking executions will only accelerate injustice,’ UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said earlier this month.
The Speicher massacre is considered one of IS’s worst crimes since it took over large parts of the country in 2014.
Combined with a call by the country’s top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for Iraqis to take up arms against them, the Speicher massacre played a key role in the mass recruitment of Shiite volunteers to fight the jihadists.”