Iraq condemns 15 Turkish women to death

Country’s courts can give death penalty to non-combatants found guilty of belonging to Daesh

19:24 February 25, 2018

BAGHDAD — An Iraqi criminal court on Sunday sentenced to death 15 Turkish women after finding them guilty of belonging to Daesh, a judicial official said.

Another Turkish woman accused of membership of the group was given a life sentence, the official said, adding they had all acknowledged the charges against them.

Iraq, which has detained at least 560 women, as well as 600 children, identified as extremists or relatives of suspected Daesh fighters, is wasting no time in putting them on trial.

In January, a court sentenced a German woman to death on charges of providing logistical support to Daesh, and a Turkish woman was earlier this month also handed the death penalty.

Human Rights Watch denounced the rulings as “unfair”.

Earlier this week, a Baghdad court sentenced a French woman, Melina Boughedir, to seven months in jail for entering Iraq illegally but ordered her release on time already served.

Baghdad declared military victory over Daesh in December, after having expelled the group from all urban centres it had held in northern and western Iraq since 2014.

According to experts, an estimated 20,000 people are being held in jail in Iraq for alleged membership of Daesh. There is no official figure.

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

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

It also allows for the death penalty to be issued against anyone — including non-combatants — found guilty of belonging to Daesh.