A court in Iraq has sentenced a German woman and French man to life in prison for joining Islamic State.
A judge imposed life sentences on both German national Nadia Rainer Hermann, 22, and French national Lahcen Ammar Gueboudj after finding them guilty of joining ISIS, Reuters reported on Monday, August 6. Reuters reported Gueboudj’s age as 55 while French media reports said he was 58.
Both of their sentences can be appealed.
Hermann had previously been sentenced to a year in prison for illegally entering Iraq. She has been reported in German media to be the daughter of another German woman who was sentenced to death in January but later had her sentence commuted to life in prison.
German officials have told The Defense Post that they are continuing to provide consular access to the woman, whose name has not been publicly released.
Update, August 8:
The German “Federal Foreign Office is aware of the cases mentioned and is providing consular assistance,” a spokesperson said on Wednesday.
The spokesperson told The Defense Post the foreign office would not comment on or release information about individual consular cases, citing reasons of data protection and personal rights.
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.
Nadia told the court she had travelled to Iraq from Syria “to run away from the people of [ISIS],” AFP reported.
She entered Syria from Turkey with her mother, sister and daughter Yamana in 2014. Her sister, who was mentally disabled, was killed in a bombardment, AFP cited her as saying.
The surviving family members were arrested in Iraq in July 2017 after the fall of ISIS-held Mosul to the U.S.-led Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces.
Nadia’s lawyer said she was a minor at the time she entered Syria and married an ISIS fighter, “not a decision taken by an adult in full conscience.”
Gueboudj on Monday refuted details of an earlier confession, saying he signed confessions in Arabic without knowing what was written, AFP said.
He told the court he wanted to convince his son to return to France.
“I would never have left France, if my eldest son Nabil, 25-years-old, hadn’t gone to Syria,” he said. “I wanted to convince him to return with us to France.”
He brought his wife and children through Turkey into Syria and was later arrested in Iraq, AFP reported.
Iraq has detained at least 560 women and 600 children identified as ISIS members or their relatives. It has sentenced more than 300 people, including dozens of foreigners, to death for joining ISIS, and more than 180 women have been sentenced to life in prison.
Iraqi law allows people to be convicted of helping ISIS even if they are not directly accused of violence during the years since the group overran Iraq.
This story was updated throughout the day on August 6 with additional details and on August 8 with a statement from the German Federal Foreign Office.