Iraqi court sentences Al-Qaeda leader’s sister to death

Iraqi security forces that fight terrorism can be seen in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Iraqi court sentences Al-Qaeda leader’s sister to death

BAGHDAD: A Baghdad court has convicted the sister of the former leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq who was killed in 2010 and sentenced her to death on terrorism charges, a spokesman said Thursday.
The spokesman of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, said in a statement that Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi’s sister was found guilty for “offering logistic support and help to (the militants) in carrying out criminal acts.”
The woman, whose name was not released, was also found guilty of “distributing money” among the militants in Mosul. He didn’t give more details on the charges and what years she cooperated with Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Bayrkdar said the woman’s husband was earlier also sentenced to death as a member of the Al-Qaeda leadership.
Al-Baghdadi was killed in April 2010, along with Abu Ayyub Al-Masri, another prominent Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq, in a US-Iraqi joint operation.
Thursday’s statement by Bayrkdar initially said the convicted woman was the sister Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of Daesh, but the spokesman later issued a correction, saying she is Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi’s sister.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq was the parent group from which Daesh emerged.
In mid-2014, Daesh controlled vast areas in northern and western Iraq, including Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul, which was under the militants’ rule for more than three years.
Iraq declared victory over Daesh last December, after driving the militants from northern and central Iraq. Hundreds of women, including foreigners, were arrested in the sweep. Since then, Iraq’s Central Criminal Court has issued number of sentences against Daesh women, ranging from years in prison to death by hanging.
Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts remain unknown. Rumors have surfaced on several occasions of his death and injuries in airstrikes and fighting in both Iraq and Syria, territories where Daesh had declared a “caliphate,” though there was never anything to back them up.
He is believed to be in his mid-40s, and was seen in public only once when he declared himself the leader of Daesh from a historic mosque in Mosul, just a few weeks after Daesh captured the city in the summer of 2014, along with entire swaths of northern and western Iraq.
Since then, he has only released audio messages to his followers from time to time, urging them to keep on fighting.


Iran confirms death of blogger held on security charges

Updated 48 min 8 sec ago
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Iran confirms death of blogger held on security charges

  • “The political prisoner Vahid Sayyadi Nasiri, on hunger strike since October 13, 2018"

DUBAI: Iranian authorities have confirmed the death of a social media activist jailed on security charges, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Sunday, after Western rights groups said he had died following a 60-day hunger strike in prison.
“The political prisoner Vahid Sayyadi Nasiri, on hunger strike since October 13, 2018 to protest the denial of his right to counsel and inhumane prison conditions..., has died at the Shahid Beheshti Hospital in Qom,” the US-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said on its website.
ISNA quoted an unidentified source as saying Nasiri had been jailed twice for belonging to a royalist group and planning acts of sabotage including an explosion. He had been taken from prison to a hospital where he died due to a liver disease on Dec. 12, the source said, without referring to a hunger strike.
Mehdi Kaheh, the prosecutor in the city of Qom, earlier said Nasiri had been serving a sentence for “insulting Islamic sanctities” on social media when he fell ill and was taken to hospital where he died, the state broadcaster IRIB reported on its website. Kaheh did not refer to a hunger strike.
Iran, whose officials often warn of efforts by foreign enemies to infiltrate state institutions, has detained scores of journalists and social media activists in recent years, and many others have gone into exile.
In November, Reporters Without Borders said Iran had launched a new crackdown on journalists in which several had been questioned and three arrested in connection with social network posts.
Iran rejects criticism of its human rights record by international human rights bodies as politically motivated and based on a lack of understanding of Islamic laws.