Iraq sentences foreign women to life in prison for joining IS

Iraq sentences foreign women to life in prison for joining IS
Iraq on Tuesday sentenced a French woman and two other Russians to life in prison for belonging to the Islamic State group.
3 min read
17 April, 2018
The three IS militants were imprisoned for life [File Photo: Getty]

A French woman and two other Russians were sentenced to life in prison for belonging to the Islamic State group, the latest in a series of Iraqi court rulings since the country's defeat of the militant group.

Djamila Boutoutaou, a 29-year-old of Algerian origin, told a Baghdad court that she had left France with her husband - a rapper who allegedly told her they were going on holiday.

But "when I arrived in Turkey I discovered that my husband was a jihadist," Boutoutaou said, adding she was forced to join IS and live in their so-called "caliphate".

Her husband was killed near the former militant stronghold of Mosul, northern Iraq, and her son died in bombardment, Boutoutaou added.

Two Russian women, both holding children in their arms, were also sentenced to life in prison at the same hearing, while five from Azerbaijan were condemned to death along with a woman from Trinidad.

Iraq declared victory in December against IS, which at one point controlled a third of the country.

The Iraqi anti-terrorism law empowers courts to convict people who are believed to have helped IS even if they are not accused of violence.

The rulings came just a day after 13 people, including 11 convicted on charges relating to "terrorism" were executed by Iraqi authorities, the justice ministry said on Monday.

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They included individuals responsible for car bombings, "killings of security forces personnel" and kidnappings, it said in a statement, without specifying dates, locations or other details of the attacks.

The executions are the first since the beginning of the year in Iraq, which according to rights group Amnesty International, put to death at least 111 people in 2017.

Some 20,000 people were arrested during a years-long offensive by Iraqi forces battling to retake swathes of the country from the Islamic State group. Many have been sentenced to death but not yet executed.

But despite the announced victory against the militants, the group has struck different parts of the country. IS still clings to pockets of desert in war-torn Syria and appears to be able to cross the porous border between the two neighbours.

Last week, at least 25 people were killed and 18 injured in a bomb attack on funerals for Iraqi fighters killed by extremists, police and medics said.

It was the deadliest attack in Iraq since a January 16 double suicide bombing in Baghdad claimed 31 lives. In January, an Iraqi court condemned a German woman to death after finding her guilty of belonging to IS.

A court the following month sentenced another French woman to seven months in jail for entering Iraq illegally but ordered her release on time already served.

Several dozen Turkish women have been sentenced to death under Iraqi anti-terrorism laws.

On Tuesday, rights group Amnesty International released testimonies of displaced Iraqi women who say they have suffered sexual violence and alienation due to their suspected links to IS. 

The Iraq Report is a weekly feature at The New Arab.

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