TIKRIT, Iraq, Aug. 21 (UPI) — Iraq executed 36 prisoners convicted of killing about 1,700 soldiers when Islamic State militants seized a former U.S. base in Tikrit in June 2014, Iraqi official television reported Sunday.
“The ministry of justice executed 36 prisoners in Nasriyah prison after they were found guilty in the crime of Speicher,” state-run Iraqiya channel said’ Camp Speicher is a former U.S. base in Tikrit.
In June 2014, armed Sunni insurgents attacked Iraqi security forces and captured a large part of the country’s northern and western territories. Government troops abandoned their posts and military equipment.
Reports said that some soldiers who abandoned their posts were abducted and killed by IS militants.
Justice Minister Haidar al-Zamili was present at the executions, a spokesman said.
Those executed on Sunday, all believed to be Iraqi citizens, were sentenced to death in February.
Many defendants denied involvement. Some said they had not been near Tikrit during the massacre, others said they were denied access to lawyers and others said they were forced to confess under torture.
Camp Speicher is named after the first U.S. casualty of the 1991 Desert Storm.