The Iraqi government has executed 36 people by hanging for their roles in the massacre of around 1,700 men in ISIS-held areas in 2014, a local governor said.
CNN reports that the prisoners were killed Sunday at Al-Hoot prison in Nasiriyah, according to Yahya Al-Nasiri, the governor of Dhiqar province. They had been sentenced to death in February this year.
The “Speicher Massacre,” as the 2014 killings have been named, took its name from Camp Speicher, a former US base near Tikrit. The camp eventually fell to ISIS militants.
The terror organization released videos after the massacre of what appeared to be a long line of Iraqi soldiers being forced to march at gunpoint. Later, ISIS made public photos showing mass murders. Around 400 of the army recruits who were killed came from Dhiqar province, the BBC reports.
Human Rights Watch called the Speicher Massacre the “largest reported incident” where ISIS took captive over a thousand military recruits from Camp Speicher and “summarily executed at least 800 of them.”
Nasiri was present at the executions of the killers. He said that the men were hanged “in the presence of some family members of the Speicher massacre victims, a legal committee, the minister of Justice and other security departments representatives.” There will be more executions to come, he added.
Families of the massacre victims had to wait a year for news on their sons, brothers, and husbands. The Iraqi army took back the base in 2015, running ISIS members out of the area. When the soldiers got to Tikrit and the surrounding areas, they found as many as eight mass graves containing decomposed bodies, some of which had their hands bound.
The remains were sent to Baghdad for DNA tests. Relatives of missing soldiers gave the Ministry of Health DNA samples to help identify the bodies found at the site.
The ISIS videos of the mass killings fanned the outrage that eventually mobilized Iraqi military forces to move in on Tikrit and drive out the enemy.