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‘Iraq condemns six Turkish women to death for belonging to Daesh’

By AFP - Apr 02,2018 - Last updated at Apr 02,2018

BAGHDAD, Iraq — A Baghdad court on Monday sentenced six Turkish women to death and a seventh to life in prison for joining the Daesh terrorist group, 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 has detained at least 560 women, as well as 600 children, identified as extremists or relatives of suspected Daesh fighters.

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.

It also allows for the death penalty to be issued against anyone — including non-combatants — found guilty of belonging to the Daesh terrorist group.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch has urged Iraqi authorities to “develop a national strategy to prioritise 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 a [Daesh] member or a coerced border crossing”, it said.

Many foreign widows of Daesh fighters have said they had been threatened by their husbands to travel to Iraq.

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