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Iraqi court sentences 24 to death over Speicher massacre

A Baghdad court has sentenced to death 24 suspected Islamic State militants accused of taking part in the slaughter of over a thousand of Iraqi Shia recruits at former US base Camp Speicher last summer.

As many as 1,700 Iraqi recruits were slaughtered by the Islamic State militants who captured them after IS overran Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit in June 2014, dividing them by sect before murdering the young Shia men.

Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, the spokesman for Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, said in a statement that “today the Iraqi central criminal court issued a death sentence against 24 people convicted of the Speicher massacre,” adding that some 604 other militants believed to have taken part in the killing, were still at large.

Four suspects were released due to “inadequate evidence”, Bayrkdar said.

Bayraktar explained that “the evidence obtained was sufficient for a conviction, including the defendants’ confessions during the interrogation stage which matched the facts and criminal evidence”.

The defendants have 30 days to appeal.

The 24 men were sentenced to death by hanging denied taking part in the killings, but told the judge that they had been tortured into confessing.

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