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01:41 - Source: CNN

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16 Turkish women sentenced to death by Iraqi court

The women were found guilty of joining ISIS and of terrorism

CNN  — 

Sixteen Turkish women were found guilty of terrorism and sentenced to death by an Iraqi court on Sunday.

Iraq’s Central Criminal Court issued the sentence after “it was proven they belong to ISIS terrorist group,” Judge Abdul Sattar al-Beeraqdar, the High Judicial Council’s spokesman, said in a statement.

“The convicted women had confessed during the investigation they joined ISIS, marrying ISIS members and providing logistical aid to the group,” al-Beeraqdar added.

Since the Iraqi military announced in December 2017 that the nation was “fully liberated” of ISIS, the government has faced the dilemma of prosecuting former ISIS members. This includes the hundreds of women from around the world who flocked to the Islamic caliphate – drawn by the promise of a new life and marriage to strong, devout men.

Several women who surrendered to Iraqi forces alongside defeated ISIS fighters have already been sentenced to death or life in prison, according to Human Rights Watch. The humanitarian organization warns that these women are receiving unfair trials due to their perceived collusion with ISIS.

“In these cases, the women are getting the harshest possible sentences for what appears to be marriage to an ISIS member or a coerced border crossing. The Iraqi courts need to redirect their priorities,” Belkis Wille, a senior Iraq researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement released last week.

The Iraqi court said the death sentence of the 16 Turkish women can be appealed.