Iraq sentenced 616 foreigners for ISIS links in 2018

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Iraq sentenced more than 600 foreigners including many women and dozens of minors in 2018 for belonging to the Islamic State group, the judiciary said on Monday.

Iraq declared “victory” over ISIS at the end of 2017 after a three-year war against the jihadists, who once controlled nearly a third of the country as well as swathes of neighbouring Syria.

Around 20 000 people suspected of links to ISIS have been arrested since 2014.

Judicial spokesperson Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar said Monday that “616 men and women accused of belonging to [ISIS] have been put on trial” in 2018 and sentenced under Iraq’s anti-terrorism law.

They comprised 466 women, 42 men and 108 minors, he said.

Bayraqdar did not, however specify the punishments.

Death sentences

Under Iraq’s anti-terrorism law courts can issue verdicts, including death sentences, against anyone found guilty of belonging to the jihadist group, including non-combatants.

In April, judicial sources said that more than 300 suspects linked to ISIS had received death sentences and more than 300 others were sentenced to life, which in Iraq is equivalent to 20 years.

Most of the women sentenced for ISIS links were from Turkey and republics of the former Soviet Union.

Three French citizens – two women and a man – have been sentenced to life imprisonment while a German woman, a Belgian man and a Russian man have been sentenced to death.

Many women had travelled to Iraq with their children to join their husbands who fought in the ranks of ISIS.

Some are still waiting to be repatriated to their home countries.

On Sunday, 30 Russian children whose mothers are in prison in Iraq for links to ISIS were flown from Baghdad to Moscow as part of a repatriation programme championed by Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov.