ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Supreme Court says it has tried and sentenced over 500 foreign members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State group since the start of 2018.
According to a statement from the court, it had issued 514 verdicts for both men and women of “different nationalities” who were involved in terror activities in Iraq, while another 202 are still being interrogated and 44 are being tried. It added that 11 had been acquitted.
The court statement noted that interrogations lasted around six months for foreigners accused of membership in the Islamic State while those charged with an active role in the extremist group could be questioned for at least a year.
Since declaring military victory over the Islamic State in late 2017 following a devastating three-year war, Iraq has accelerated the pace of prosecutions against suspected members of the militant group.
Authorities have yet to disclose the number of terrorism suspects in Iraqi prisons and the number of people facing execution or life imprisonment related to terrorism charges.
International humanitarian and human rights organizations, including the United Nations and Human Rights Watch (HRW), say efforts by Iraqi authorities to speed up the implementation of death sentences could lead to the execution of innocent people, especially with the nation’s poor standards of criminal justice.
In March, HRW expressed its concerns about the transfer of Islamic State suspects, including foreign nationals, from Syria to Iraq, highlighting the risk of torture in detention.
The organization also called on France, a member of the European Union with an important foreign policy goal of eradicating the death penalty globally, to speak out publicly as its citizens risk prosecution and death in unfair trials that deny victims their day in court.
Editing by John J. Catherine