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Iraqi twins freed after Tampere ISIS terror trial

Two twins suspected of participation in a notorious massacre in Tikrit, Iraq in 2014 have been freed by a court in Tampere, Finland after a complicated, four month trial.

Terroristiepäillyn vangitsemisoikeudenkäynti Tampereella
Image: Leena Peltokangas / Yle

Two Iraqi twins have been freed after a Tampere court threw out charges related to a massacre in Iraq in 2014. Now in their mid-20s, the two were taken into custody in December 2015, a few months after arriving as asylum seekers in Finland.

Prosecutors had demanded the twins be given life sentences for murder, or alternatively twelve years in jail for accessory to murder. The twins had been identified by other asylum seekers from online videos, but the Tampere court found the evidence too weak for a conviction. They were found innocent on all charges and freed with immediate effect.

The prosecution charged that one of the brothers shot and killed at least 11 people in the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre in Tikrit, Iraq, in which ISIS forces slaughtered over 1,500 unarmed Shia Iraqi Air Force cadets.

During the trial, defense lawyers argued that a key piece of evidence, images from an ISIS propaganda video, was unconvincing, as it was difficult to positively identify the individuals shown. It was also argued that the veracity of Iraqi documents was difficult to confirm.  

The defendants both denied the charges. One denied even being present at the scene of the massacre.

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