Baghdad: The Iraqi judiciary has tried and sentenced more than 500 foreigners since the start of 2018 for joining the Islamic State (IS) group, the country’s Supreme Court (SC) announced, Wednesday.
The country’s SC said in a statement, “514 verdicts were issued, for both men and women, while another 202 accused are still being interrogated and 44 are still being tried. Another 11 were acquitted and released.” The statement referred to ‘different nationalities’ but did not list any specific countries.
It said interrogations were taking about six months for those simply accused of IS membership, but anyone accused of actively taking part in the jihadist group’s operations could be questioned for up to a year. Iraq declared victory over IS in late 2017 and began trying foreigners accused of joining the jihadist faction the following year.
It has condemned many to life in prison, including 58-year-old Frenchman Lahcen Ammar Gueboudj and two other French nationals. It has also issued death sentences for other foreign IS members, although they have not yet been carried out.
Among those awaiting trial here are 12 accused French IS members, who were caught in Syria and transferred to Iraqi custody in February.
Around 1,000 suspected foreign IS fighters are in detention in northeast Syria, in addition to around 9,000 foreign women and children in camps there.
Wednesday’s statement by the court ‘urged all trials of foreign terrorists to be moved to Baghdad, as most of the embassies are in the capital and so embassy representatives from the terrorists’ countries can attend the sessions’. Iraq has also already tried thousands of its own nationals arrested on home soil for joining IS, including women.