ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A local Iraqi court on Thursday sentenced a convicted Islamic State member to death for killing multiple Iraqi soldiers and for the rape of a Yezidi (Ezidi) girl in Nineveh.
The Iraqi Higher Judicial Council in a statement said that the Nineveh Criminal Court issued a “death sentence on a man convicted of belonging to the Da’esh [ISIS] terrorist gang, terrorist involvement in the murder of men, and abuses…”
The statement did not specify the identity of the defendant nor the date of his arrest.
“The terrorist was wearing an Afghan uniform…and worked as an intelligence element within the terrorist organization to inform on citizens,” the statement added.
The Iraqi judiciary claimed that the sentenced man “took part in the battles in Zummar district [in Nineveh], killed five members of the security forces, and raped a woman from the Ezidi sect.”
The judicial authorities said the sentence was handed down to the man “based on his clear and frank confession before the court and the statements of witnesses” and in accordance with Iraq’s anti-terrorism law.
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.
The emergence of the Islamic State and its violent assault on Sinjar (Shingal) in 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of the Ezidi religious minority, whom the extremist group considered heretics. Most of them fled to the Kurdistan Region, while others resettled in neighboring countries in the region or Western states.
Others were not as lucky and remained stranded in the war zone, where they experienced atrocities and mass executions at the hands of the Islamic State for years. Militants subjected women and girls to sexual slavery, kidnapped children, forced religious conversions, executed scores of men, and abused, sold, and trafficked women across areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.
Before the 2014 attack, there were roughly 550,000 Ezidis in the Kurdistan Region and Iraq. As the terrorist group took over large swaths of territory in Nineveh, 360,000 Ezidis escaped and found refuge elsewhere, according to the Kurdistan Region’s Ezidi Rescue Office.
Editing by Nadia Riva