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Iraq Sentences German Woman to Death for Joining ISIS

Iraq Sentences German Woman to Death for Joining ISIS

Monday, 22 January, 2018 - 09:15
Iraqi soldiers pose with Linda Wenzel after her capture in Mosul. (AP)

An Iraqi court said Sunday it had condemned to death by hanging a German woman of Moroccan origins after finding her guilty of belonging to and aiding the ISIS terrorist group. This is the first time a European woman has been sentenced to death in Iraq.

Spokesman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, said the woman acknowledged joining ISIS after traveling from Germany to Syria and then to Iraq along with her two daughters. Both daughters later married militants of the organization. She was sentenced for providing logistical support and helping the terrorist group to carry out crimes.

She is believed to have been living in the Mannheim region of Germany when she traveled to Syria but is reportedly of Moroccan descent.

"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 organization," Bayrkdar said.

A judicial source told Agence France-Presse that one of the daughters of the German extremist was killed after she joined ISIS.

According to German press, a German woman named Lamia K. and her daughter left the city of Mannheim in southwestern Germany in August 2014. They were arrested after the liberation of Mosul.

At least two other German nationals are in Iraqi jails: Linda Wenzel and Fatima M., of Chechen origin.

Iraqi anti-terrorism law allows for the indictment of a large number of persons, even those who are not involved in violence but are suspected of having helped ISIS, such as doctors working in hospitals run by the organization or cooks preparing food for militants.

An Iraqi security source pointed out that detained foreign fighters should be brought before a judge from the Baghdad counter-terrorism bureau for interrogation before referring them to counter-terrorism court.

The Iraqi court's decision is expected to be rejected by Germany that had called Iraqi authorities on several occasions to abolish the death penalty.

In September 2017, an Iraqi court sentenced to death by hanging a Russian man who was captured during operations to liberate Mosul and found guilty of fighting for ISIS.

In July after the liberation of Mosul, a German teenage girl, 16, suspected of joining ISIS was arrested in the city, according to Germany's justice department.

German daily Der Spiegel reported the girl had been held in Baghdad with three other German women, including one of Moroccan origin, who joined ISIS. The women were held in an Iraqi prison and received aid from consulates and several German diplomats visited the women and found they were doing well.

The magazine also reported that the Iraqi authorities submitted to Germany a list of names of the women captured and identified Linda Wenzel of Pulsnitz, near Dresden, who was captured in Mosul in July. The teenager ran away from the small town and flew to Istanbul, before she was smuggled into Iraq. The German Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the report.

However, German diplomats are confident she will be spared the death penalty, although she faces a long jail term in Iraq, Der Spiegel reported.

Deutsche Welle news website cited Iraqi parliamentary sources as saying that Iraqi security forces arrested a German girl who worked as a sniper in ISIS during the latest battles in Mosul.

The source explained that the girl, who turned out to be from the capital Berlin, knew a few Arabic words and only spoke German. She traveled to Mosul to join the terrorist organization after she finished her studies.

The website also reported that an Iraqi official announced the arrest of 20 foreign women belonging to ISIS, including five Germans.

The German local intelligence agency estimated a number of 930 people have left Germany in recent years to join the terrorist organization, 20 percent of them are women and 5 percent are minors.

In mid-December, Iraqi authorities executed 38 people convicted of "terrorism", but it has not officially announced the total number of extremists arrested since the liberation operations began in June 2014.

In December 2017, Iraq announced victory over the terrorist organization after it had seized control of about a third of the country's territory in 2014. However, ISIS continues to attack several areas around the country.

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