|Date: Apr 3, 2018|
|Source: The Daily Star|
|Baghdad court condemns six Turkish women to death for membership of Daesh|
|Agence France Presse|
BAGHDAD: A Baghdad court Monday sentenced six Turkish women to death and a seventh to life in prison for membership of Daesh (ISIS), a judicial source said. The source told AFP that the women, all accompanied by small children in the court, had surrendered to Kurdish peshmerga fighters after having fled Tal Afar, one of the last Daesh bastions to fall to Iraqi security forces last year.
The women told the court they had entered the country to join their husbands fighting for Daesh in the “caliphate” which the group declared in 2014 in territory straddling Iraq and Syria.
Iraq in February condemned another 15 Turkish women to death on the same charge.
Since January, a German woman and a woman from Turkey have also been handed the death penalty, in rulings Human Rights Watch has condemned as “unfair.”
Experts estimate that a total of 20,000 people are being held in jail in Iraq for alleged membership of Daesh. There is no official figure.
Iraq has detained at least 560 women, as well as 600 children, identified as militants or relatives of suspected Daesh fighters.
Separately, authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan said in early February they had detained 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 themselves.
It also allows for the death penalty to be issued against anyone – including noncombatants – found guilty of belonging to Daesh.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch has urged Iraqi authorities to “develop a national strategy to prioritize the prosecution of those who committed the most serious crimes.”
Women suspected only of Daesh membership rather than any combat role are “getting the harshest possible sentences for what appears to be marriage to an ISIS member or a coerced border crossing,” HRW said.