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Iraqi twins cleared of war crimes

A Finnish appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to link the men to the 2014 Tikrit massacre.

The brothers denied being at the site of the Tikrit bloodbath. Yle has manipulated the picture to obscure their faces. Image: Samuli Holopainen / Yle

The Turku Court of Appeal has dismissed all charges against two Iraqi men who were suspected of involvement in a mass killing in Tikrit, Iraq, in 2014. The men are identical twin brothers, aged 27.

On Friday the judges reached a unanimous verdict that the evidence did not conclusively prove that the defendants were guilty of the charges against them. They included aggravated war crimes, murders with terrorist intent and aggravated assault with terrorist intent.

They were accused of taking part in the Camp Speicher massacre in Tikrit, Iraq on 12 June 2014, in which ISIS forces killed at least 1,600 Shia and Iraqi Army cadets. Prosecutors alleged that one or both of the brothers shot at least 11 prisoners, or at least took part in their murders.

In 2017, Pirkanmaa District Court in Tampere ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict them.

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One of the brothers in court with his attorney. Yle has manipulated the picture to obscure the faces of court officials. Image: Samuli Holopainen / Yle

Prosecutors had sought life imprisonment for both of them.

The United Nations team investigating mass graves at the site of the massacre provided the court with witnesses and evidence, including a video showing a man wearing a red beret shooting a prone man at close range.

Both men denied all charges. Two witnesses testified that they were not at the scene of the massacre.