An Iraqi criminal court sentenced 15 Turkish women to death after finding them guilty of having links to the radical Islamist terror group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant(IS), a judicial official reported on Sunday. Another Turkish woman, accused of membership in the jihadist group, was given a life sentence, a statement issued by the court added.
The central criminal court has issued the sentences “after it was proven they belong to the ISIL terrorist group and after they confessed to marrying ISIL elements or providing members of the group with logistical aid or helping them carry out terrorist attacks,” said Judge Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar. All the verdicts are subject to appeal.
On Thursday, the Iraqi government handed over to the Russian government four women and 27 children with links to the ISIL, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry had then revealed. Baghdad is currently conducting trials for hundreds of foreign women and children who have been detained by Iraqi forces during military operations to liberate the country from the jihadist group over the past year.
Following the emergence of ISIL in Iraq and Syria in 2014, thousands of foreign nationals joined the jihadist group. Accompanying them were women who came from different parts of the world.
Iraq declared victory over ISIL in December 2017 after years of fierce fighting against the jihadist group. Since then, Iraqi courts have begun prosecuting foreign ISIL militants. According to Iraq’s counterterrorism law, aiding or membership to the extremist group carries the penalty of life in prison or death.
More than 1,300 women and children surrendered to Kurdish Peshmerga in August, after Iraqi government forces expelled the jihadist group from the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar. Their numbers have since swelled to about 1,700 as more foreign nationals surrendered or were captured during operations to root out the militants, according to aid officials.
Baghdad’s Criminal Court since the beginning of 2018 has sentenced two women to death for joining ISIL: a German and a Turkish woman. The same court on Sunday also sentenced nine Turkish women and one Azeri woman to life in prison, with the possibility of an appeal for all verdicts.