Iraq sentences ISIS foreign fighters to death, life in prison
By Khalid al-Taie
The string of sentences issued in recent months by the central criminal court in Baghdad against "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) foreign fighters are in line with "international standards of fair trial", a judicial source told Diyaruna Wednesday (February 21st).
A Turkish woman was sentenced to death and 11 other foreign widows to life in jail on Sunday for belonging to ISIS, AFP reported.
The women, aged between 20 and 50, were all arrested in Mosul or Tal Afar, where their husbands were killed as Iraqi forces recaptured the northern cities.
The state-appointed defence lawyers argued that the women had all been duped into coming to Iraq and were not involved in any acts of violence.
But they were found guilty under Article 4 of Iraq's anti-terrorism law against "any person who commits, incites, plans, finances or assists in acts of terrorism" and for illegal entry into the country.
The court sentences given to foreigners implicated in acts of terror in Iraq are "part of the sovereignty of the [Iraqi] state", Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdul Sattar Bayraqdar told Diyaruna.
The sentences are "given in accordance with the penalties prescribed by Iraqi law to perpetrators of terrorism-related crimes", he said.
They are "issued according to standards of fair trial included in all international human rights conventions", he said, noting that these include the right to an attorney, to debate prosecution witnesses and evidence, and to appeal verdicts.
Sentences can be appealed
Since mid-2017, the Iraqi judiciary has sentenced to death and life imprisonment foreign fighters and women convicted of being members of ISIS and of committing crimes against Iraqis.
Most of those convicted had been arrested by Iraqi forces during military operations to liberate the cities of Mosul and Tal Afar.
On February 12th, the criminal court sentenced a Turkish woman to life in jail for "giving cover to terrorists", as well as a Syrian man accused of "being a member of ISIS and participating in attacks on Iraqi military units".
A German woman was issued a death sentence on January 21st on the charge of participating in attacks on Iraqi forces and providing logistical support to ISIS elements.
On September 12th, the criminal court sentenced to death a Russian man who confessed to carrying out several terrorist operations against the security forces since 2015.
The convicted man belonged to an armed ISIS battalion known as al-Zarqawi Battalion, Bayraqdar said.
The sentences given to all convicted terrorists are in accordance with Article 4 of Iraq's anti-terrorism law, he said.
They are "not conclusive but are initial sentences that can be appealed by the federal court of cassation", he said.