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Turkish women sentenced to death in Iraq for IS links

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    Women whose family members are accused of being IS militants at a camp in northern Syria in July 2017Image copyright DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images
    Image caption Hundreds of women have been detained on suspicion of being IS fighters’ relatives

    An Iraqi court has sentenced at least 15 Turkish women to death by hanging, after they were found guilty of joining the Islamic State group (IS).

    Some reports say 16 women were handed the death penalty, while others say one was jailed for life.

    The women confessed to marrying IS fighters or providing the group “with logistical aid or helping them carry out terrorist attacks”, the judge said.

    Thousands of foreigners have fought and died for IS in Iraq and Syria.

    The Iraqi government declared its war against the group over in December. While IS has been driven from its major strongholds, militants have continued to carry out suicide bombings and other attacks.

    The women, said to be aged between 20 and 50, appeared dressed in black at the central criminal court in Baghdad on Sunday. Four had young children with them.

    One told the judge that she had fought Iraqi troops alongside the militants, an official said.

    At least 560 women and 600 children have been detained in Iraq on suspicion of being jihadists or IS fighters’ relatives, AFP news agency reports. Hundreds are now being put on trial.

    In January a German woman captured during the 2017 battle for Mosul was sentenced to death for joining IS. She was accused of taking part in attacks on Iraqi security forces.

    Earlier this month a Turkish woman was also condemned to die, and 10 others sentenced to life imprisonment.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionUS-backed forces may be celebrating, but IS has not been defeated

    Human Rights Watch has raised concerns about the judicial process and branded the trials unfair.

    Lawyers for the women jailed for life had argued that they were tricked or coerced into travelling into IS territory, according to a courtroom observer.

    The women now have a month to appeal.

    Under Iraq’s anti-terror law, anyone found guilty of joining IS can be handed the death penalty, including non-combatants.

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