Iraq Shia militia ‘murdered prisoners’ for fear they would join Islamic State

Abdullah Hamid al-Hayali is a man waging a campaign that he knows could see him murdered.

The mayor of the Iraqi town of Baquba has taken it upon himself to reveal the truth about the fate of 46 prisoners, his nephew among them, who were killed in their cells, less than two miles from his home.

Government officials have pinned the blame for the deaths on the Sunni militants who swept through northern Iraq last month, claiming that an insurgent mortar destroyed the police station in which the prisoners were held.

But the photographs of the dead on Mr Hayali’s phone, plus the thick pile of hospital death certificates that sit on his lap, tell a much darker story: in which security forces from Iraq’s Shia government, fearing the prisoners would join the jihadists should they come to Baquba, massacred the inmates in their cells…