An Iraqi court has sentenced 16 women to death for being members of the Daesh terrorist organization, according to a judicial official on Sunday.
The defendants confessed to marrying Isis fighters or providing the group "with logistical aid or helping them carry out terrorist attacks", said Judge Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar. Iraq is conducting the trials of hundreds of foreign women who have been detained, with their children, since August by Iraqi forces as Daesh strongholds crumbled.
Last month, Iraq's Central Criminal Court issued a death penalty by hanging for a German citizen of Moroccan origin in accordance with Anti-Terrorism Law. Daesh is the acronym for the Arabic name of the terrorist group.
To remind you, thousands of foreigners have fought on behalf of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since at least 2014. Some had young children with them. One of them told the judge she had taken part in fighting against Iraqi forces alongside the jihadists, he said. The French news agency also contended that 16 of them had been recently sentenced to death by an Iraqi court. While some women were brought to Iraq and Syria against their will, many traveled voluntarily to join militants in their self-declared "caliphate".
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Under Iraq's anti-terror laws, anyone found guilty of joining Isis, including non-combatants, can be given the death penalty.
Belkis Wille, a senior Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch, was quoted by CNN as saying: "In these cases, the women are getting the harshest possible sentences for what appears to be marriage to an ISIS member or a coerced border crossing".
In June 2017, nearly three years to the day since Isis crossed over the border from Syria to seize Iraq's second city Mosul in a surprise attack, US-backed Iraqi coalition forces declared the Iraqi half of Isis' so-called caliphate destroyed. It suggests that the Iraqi authorities "should develop a national strategy to prioritize the prosecution of those who committed the most serious crimes".