Middle East

Iraq reduces death sentence of German woman who joined ISIS

The death sentence of a German woman who was found guilty of joining Islamic State with her two daughters has been reduced to life in an Iraqi prison.

The woman, whose name has not been made public, was handed the death penalty by an Iraqi court in January.

“The Federal Foreign Office confirms that the death sentence handed down against the German citizen held in Iraq has been commuted to life imprisonment,” a German diplomatic source told The Defense Post. “The new judgment is not yet final.”

The German Embassy in Bagdad continues to provide consular services to the German citizen, the source added.

The woman, who is of Moroccan origin, joined ISIS in Iraq with her two daughters, who both married fighters, Abdel Settar Bayraqdar, a spokesperson for the court in Baghdad, said in January.

“The accused admitted during interrogations that she left Germany for Syria then Iraq to join ISIS with her two daughters, who married members of the terrorist organisation,” Bayraqdar said.

Iraq did not officially notify Germany that one of its citizens was sentenced to death, a diplomatic source told The Defense Post at the time.

According to AFP, Iraq has sentenced more than 300 people to death for joining ISIS. Iraqi law allows people to be convicted of helping the terrorist group even if they are not accused of violence during the years since ISIS overran Iraq.

On April 18, Iraq sentenced five women from Azerbaijan and a woman from Trinidad to death and two Russian and French woman to life in prison for joining ISIS. A spokesperson for the Azerbaijan ministry of foreign affairs told The Defense Post on April 23 that the ministry was also not notified through official channels about the sentence. Earlier in April, the Baghdad court sentenced six Turkish women to death for ISIS membership and a seventh to life in prison. They had all joined their husbands in Iraq and Syria after 2014.

Since January, a German woman and another woman from Turkey have also been handed the death penalty, in rulings which Human Rights Watch has condemned as “unfair.” Amnesty International said in a report this month that Iraqi women and children with perceived ties to ISIS have been denied humanitarian aid, prevented from returning home, and subjected to sexual violence while in camps for internally displaced persons across Iraq.

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