Relatives cheer as 36 convicted over massacre of cadets are hanged

Jihadists convicted of taking part in an Islamic State massacre of hundreds of soldiers have been hanged in Iraq. The 36 were put to death at the Nasiriyah prison in southern Iraq, according to government officials. They had been found guilty of involvement in the Speicher massacre, named after a former US base near Tikrit where up to 1,700 recruits were kidnapped before being killed in 2014. The death penalty was carried out after prime minister Haider al-Abadi said he wanted to expedite the execution of inmates sentenced to death in terrorism cases in the wake of a bombing which killed 300 in Baghdad last month.

Tens of relatives attended the executions. They shouted Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), they were happy to see those people dead.

Abdelhassan Dawood, spokesman for the governor’s office in Dhiqar

Officials said the governor of Dhiqar, Yahya al-Nasseri, and justice minister Haidar al-Zamili, as well as the victims’ relatives were present to oversee the executions, officials said. About 400 of the Speicher massacre victims were from the Dhiqar province, which is predominantly Shiite and located in Iraq’s south. The United Nations had criticised Mr Abadi’s call to speed up executions, which human rights groups claimed 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 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

Amnesty International Iraq researcher Diana Eltahawy