Iraq court sentences a widow of ISIL leader al-Baghdadi to death

By Al Jazeera (World News) | Created at 2024-07-10 13:05:46 | Updated at 2024-07-21 18:55:49 1 week ago
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The woman was charged with collaborating with ISIL and keeping kidnapped Yazidi women in her home in Mosul.

Published On 10 Jul 2024

An Iraqi court has sentenced a widow of late ISIL (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to death for her role in the armed group and for detaining Yazidi women, the judiciary has announced.

The court in west Baghdad handed down the sentence to the woman, who is in custody, under Iraq’s anti-terrorism law, according to a statement on Wednesday from Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council.

She was accused of collaborating with ISIL and using her home in Mosul to hold kidnapped Yazidi women who were later taken captive by ISIL fighters in Sinjar in northern Iraq.

The court did not name the accused woman, but a judicial official cited by the AFP news agency identified her as Asma Mohamed.

She was sentenced to “death by hanging”, a court official told the Reuters news agency, adding that the ruling must be ratified by an Iraqi appeals court to become final and applicable.

The charges against al-Baghdadi’s wife come nearly five years after United States special forces killed the ISIL leader, who had built a self-declared “caliphate” across vast swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Yazidis suffered persecution during al-Baghdadi’s lightning advance through northern Iraq in 2014. ISIL fighters systematically killed thousands of their men and forced Yazidi women into sexual slavery.

More than 10 years on, members of the minority group are still struggling to recover from ISIL’s onslaught with more than 200,000 of them displaced, according to a report by Refugees International and Voice of Ezidis. Few have received reparations or compensation.

Since ISIL was driven out of all the territory it controlled in Iraq in 2017, Iraqi courts have handed down hundreds of death sentences and life prison terms to those convicted of membership in “a terrorist group”. They include more than 500 foreign men and women found guilty of joining ISIL.

In February, Iraq announced it had secured the repatriation of some members of al-Baghdadi’s family, who had been detained in Turkey.

Al-Baghdadi was known to have four wives. More than a week after his death in 2019, Turkey said it had captured one of his wives and other family members.

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