Iraq court hands Turkish women death sentence

An Iraqi criminal court on Sunday sentenced to death 15 Turkish women after finding them guilty of belonging to the ISIS terrorist group, a judicial official said.

The women's verdicts are subject to appeal.

Human Rights Watch has argued that the sentences are "unfair", with some activists arguing that numerous women were tricked or coerced into joining the terrorist groups.

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Iraq is conducting the trials of hundreds of foreign women who have been detained, with hundreds of their children, since August by Iraqi forces as Islamic State strongholds crumbled.

A Turkish woman was sentenced to death last week by the court and 10 others of various nationalities to life in prison, all for alleged Islamic State membership.

The women, said to be aged between 20 and 50, appeared dressed in black at the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad yesterday, the BBC reports.

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Iraq has handed over to Russian Federation four women and 27 children suspected of having ties to the group, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, adding that they were "tricked" into joining the militants. One of the women reportedly told the judge she had fought Iraqi troops.

"The court has issued a death sentence in relation to the accused women in accordance with the counterterrorism law", the statement read. While some women were brought to Iraq and Syria against their will, many traveled voluntarily to join militants in their self-declared "caliphate". The suspects claimed to have been tricked into joining ISIS militants. Iraq in December declared victory over the IS, which had seized control of almost a third of the country in 2014.

Human rights organizations and observers contend that the legal process in Iraq is not fair.

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The jihadists have however continued to carry out suicide bombings, ambushes and other attacks across the country. The French news agency also contended that 16 of them had been recently sentenced to death by an Iraqi court.