Iraq Sentences 11 Islamic State Members to Death After Five Years

An Iraqi court sentenced 11 members of the Islamic State militant group to death, citing their involvement in five years old explosion of a strategic bridge in Babil (Babylon) Province. On Wednesday, the Babil Criminal Court’s press office stated that the members confessed their membership to the terrorist group and participating in 2014 attack that killed three security forces in the governorate.

“The terrorists confessed to carrying out an attack they called ‘Invading Fadhliya,’ on a strategic bridge in the area of Jurf al-Nasr, north of the province, in 2014, which ended with a full explosion and led to the death of three people, wounding 19 security members stationed nearby,” the statement read.

The court held a public trial in presence of the public prosecutors and the lawyers of the defendants. It also highlighted that the cost and value of the demolished bridge located in Jurf al-Nassir was estimated by the experts at about 18 billion Iraqi dinars ($15 million).

The Islamic State members also admitted of committing terrorist attacks in other locations at different times. According to the statement, the sentence of execution by hanging for the convicts was handed down pursuant to article IV/1 of the anti-terrorism law.

Since 2017, the Iraqi judiciary issued death sentences and life in prison for hundreds of alleged Islamic State members, which also including foreign nationals. Although the exact number of is unclear, it is estimated that thousands of militants are detained in the country. Moreover, there is also no confirmation on how many members are at a risk of facing death sentences.

The Iraqi government gave no estimates about the total number of the detained terrorists, whether foreign, or with Arab or Iraqi origins. As per the expert’s estimation the country is holding 20,000 people in prison over suspected Islamic State membership.

In the recent years, the country has been condemned for its implementation of capital punishment. The death penalty was suspended in the country on June 10, 2003, but was reinstated the following year. Its anti-terrorism laws permit courts to convict people, who are believed to have assisted jihadists and not accused of carrying out attacks.

Although efforts by Iraqi authorities to accelerate the capital punishments is against the terrorists, human rights organizations, including the United Nations and Human Rights Watch, are concerned that it could lead to the executions of innocent people.

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