Iraq on Thursday said it hanged 38 Sunni Muslim militants belonging to the Islamic State group or al Qaeda after they were charged with terrorism, news agencies reported quoting the country’s Justice Ministry.
The mass execution was carried out at a prison in the southern city of Nassiriya, an official statement from the ministry said, according to Reuters.
This is the largest number of executions carried out in a single day since September 24, when 42 people were hanged in the same prison. At the time, the United Nations had said the mass execution raised massive concerns about Iraq’s use of the death penalty.
“The prison administration executed 38 death row prisoners belonging to the al Qaeda or Daesh [Islamic State] accused of terrorist activities,” AFP quoted Dakhel Kazem, a senior official in the provincial council, as saying.
Kazem said the militants were executed in the presence of Justice Minister Haidar al-Zameli.
The Justice Ministry said all the prisoners had exhausted the appeal options available to them. The prisoners were all Iraqis, but one also had Swedish citizenship, a prison official said, according to AFP.
On Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had declared a victory against the Islamic State group after a three-year campaign by government forces backed by a United States-led coalition.