Iraqi court sentences 16 Turkish women to death over ISIS membership

Iraqi court sentences 16 Turkish women to death over ISIS membership
Iraq’s Central Criminal Court has issued death sentences to 16 Turkish women, a judiciary spokesman said. They were found guilty of joining Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and aiding terrorists in their attacks.

The women were convicted to death by hanging after “it was proven they belong to the Daesh terrorist group and after they confessed to marrying Daesh elements or providing members of the group with logistical aid or helping them carry out terrorist attacks,” Judge Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar, a spokesman of the court, told reporters, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State. The court’s decision can still be appealed, he said.

Thousands of women, including foreign nationals who joined the terrorist group, were detained by Iraqi forces as they liberated territories held by the extremists. In October last year, the Iraqi ambassador to Belgium, Jawad Al-Chlaihawi, put the total number of detained IS militant family members at 14,000. Many of them now face trial.

On Monday, the Iraqi court sentenced another Turkish woman to death over membership in the terrorist group while handing down life sentences to 10 more women of various nationalities. In late January, the death sentence was issued to a German woman of Moroccan descent who reportedly became the first foreign woman to be sentenced to death by an Iraqi court.

As many as 100 foreign fighters who travelled to Iraq to fight for Islamic State will stand trial in Iraq, Al-Chlaihawi said, adding that most of them are likely to be also sentenced to death. Back in 2015, an Iraqi court already sentenced an IS extremist, who came from Russia, to death.

All foreigners, including women who committed “crimes” against the people of Iraq “directly or through support” of terrorist groups will stand trial in accordance with Iraqi law, government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said earlier this week. He added that foreign nationals proven to have committed no crimes on Iraqi soil would be sent back to their home countries, local media report.

On Monday, an Iraqi court ordered the release and deportation of a French woman who joined Islamic State. Melina Bougedir, 27, was detained last summer as Iraqi troops took over the northern city of Mosul from extremists. She was sentenced to seven months in prison for entering Iraq illegally, but was then immediately released as the court ruled she already served her time during her detention.

Last week, a German teenage ‘Islamic State bride’ known as Linda Wenzel was convicted to six years in prison for her affiliation with the terrorist group.