Iraq sentences 16 women to death because they married Islamic State terrorists

LEX 18 News

An Iraqi court sentenced 16 Turkish women to death by hanging for joining the Islamic State, an Iraq judiciary official confirmed Sunday.

The women, said to be aged between 20 and 50, appeared dressed in black at the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad yesterday, the BBC reports. The sources stressed that they have requested the return of children and adults who have not committed any crimes - four children have been returned to Turkey so far.

One told the judge that she had fought Iraqi troops alongside the militants, an official said.

Several women who surrendered to Iraqi forces alongside defeated ISIS fighters have already been sentenced to death or life in prison, according to Human Rights Watch. The women have admitted that they have married members of the jihadist group or have provided logistical support to them or were involved in terrorist attacks. Iraq's government declared victory over ISIS December 2017 after Iraqi forces expelled militants from their last remaining pockets in western Iraq.

The women sentenced on Sunday have a month to appeal their verdicts, a court official said.

Several rights groups have condemned Iraq's treatment of suspected militants, pointing to inhumane prison conditions and a judicial process which does adhere to worldwide standards.

Iraq's anti-terrorism law empowers courts to convict people who are believed to have helped ISIS even if they are not accused of carrying out attacks.

Separately, authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan said in early February they had detained some 4,000 suspected ISIS members, including foreigners.

Under Iraq's anti-terror law, anyone found guilty of joining IS can be handed the death penalty, including non-combatants.

"Iraq's security forces are marginalizing thousands of families of ISIS suspects by depriving them of the basic documents they need to rebuild their lives", said HRW's deputy Middle East director Lama Fakih.

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