ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Iraqi criminal court in Kirkuk on Wednesday sentenced two brothers accused of membership in the Islamic State (IS) to prison terms, one for five years and the other for 15 years.
In a statement released by the Criminal Court of Kirkuk identified the two men as ethnic Arab brothers named Yas Khidher and Muhammad Khidher, aged 37 and 26 respectively. They are from the al-Hadhab al-Uliya village in Kirkuk province’s Qaratapa subdistrict.
According to the statement, the two IS members were arrested in September, followed by a sentence that came "after a thorough investigation into their case, multiple hearings, and the criminals’ confessions." The judge gave verdicts ordering them to serve sentences "of 5 years in prison to Yas and 15 to Muhammad." The reasons for the differing prison terms handed down were not specified.
After sentencing, they were transferred to a correctional facility in Sulaimani that is run by the Iraqi federal government.
On Tuesday the same court gave a life sentence to another defendant who admitted in court to being a member of the jihadi group and of carrying out acts of terrorism in the country.
In two separate statements released on Wednesday, the media office of Iraq's Ministry of Interior announced the arrest of three suspected of involvement in acts of terrorism in the Sulaimani province. One of the statements told of capturing a male who escaped from a prison in Baiji as IS overran the region in 2014, and the other described the investigation leading up to the arrest of twenty others in the province of Nineveh.
Under Iraq’s counter-terrorism law, being found guilty of aiding, abetting or having membership in a group classified as a terrorist organization, even if no other crime is suspected, is punishable by a sentence of life in prison, or even the death penalty.
Editing by John J. Catherine