Iraq sentences 212 to death in Mosul area since recapture from Daesh

Updated 18 April 2018
0

Iraq sentences 212 to death in Mosul area since recapture from Daesh

BAGHDAD: Iraqi courts have sentenced 212 people to death in Mosul and surrounding areas, most of them for complicity with Daesh, since the area was retaken by Iraqi forces in July and August 2017, a judiciary spokesman said on Wednesday.
Mosul was home to two million people before being overrun in 2014 by Daesh, which proclaimed a “caliphate” stretching into neighboring Syria.
Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared full victory over the group last December after Iraqi forces drove its last remnants from the country.
Since then, Human rights groups have accused Iraqi and other regional forces of inconsistencies in the judicial process and flawed trials leading to unfair convictions.
Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said on Wednesday that criminal courts falling under the Nineveh Federal Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Mosul, had so far ruled on a total of 815 cases since the area was recaptured from Daesh.
“The statistics coming from the criminal courts show that 815 people have gone on trial and that 212 were sentenced to death. A further 150 were sentenced to life in prison,” said judiciary spokesman Judge Abdul-Sattar Al-Birqdar.
It was not immediately clear how many, if any, of the death sentences had been already carried out.
“The vast majority of these rulings were against elements of the Daesh terrorist organization who were proven to have committed crimes, and came after public trials conducted in accordance with the law. Defendants were afforded their rights,” Birqdar said.
Another 341 people were jailed for various terms and 112 were acquitted, he said.
New York-based Human Rights Watch released an 80-page report in December accusing Iraqi federal and Kurdish regional judiciaries of violating the rights of Daesh suspects with flawed trials, arbitrary detentions under harsh conditions and broad prosecutions.


Masked attackers kill five Syria rescuers: White Helmets

Updated 26 min 47 sec ago
0

Masked attackers kill five Syria rescuers: White Helmets

  • The White Helmets said armed men stormed the Al-Hader center in a pre-dawn attack and fired on the first responders inside.
  • Four volunteers were killed on the spot and a fifth died later in hospital.

BEIRUT: Five Syrian rescue workers were killed in an attack by masked assailants Saturday on one of their centers in the northern province of Aleppo, the White Helmets said.
The White Helmets said armed men stormed the Al-Hader center in a pre-dawn attack and fired on the first responders inside.
Four volunteers were killed on the spot and a fifth died later in hospital, it wrote on Twitter.
Founded in 2013, the White Helmets are a network of first responders who rescue wounded in the aftermath of air strikes, shelling or blasts in rebel-held territory.
The Al-Hader center lies in a part of Aleppo province controlled by Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), an extremist organization whose main component was once Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
“At around 2:00 am, an armed group stormed the Al-Hader center, blindfolded the staff members who were on the night shift, and killed five of them,” said Ahmad Al-Hamish, who heads the center.
“Two others were wounded and another two were able to flee. The attackers were masked and escaped after stealing some equipment and generators,” he said.
It was unclear whether the attack was a robbery-gone-wrong or if the center and its crew had been specifically targeted.
More than 200 White Helmets rescuers have been killed in Syria’s seven-year war, usually in bombing raids or shelling on their centers.
While attacks like the one on Saturday are rare, they have happened before.
In August, seven White Helmets members were killed in a similar attack in the town of Sarmin, in neighboring Idlib province.
Most of Idlib is held by HTS, as well as a part of Aleppo and the adjacent province of Hama.
Tensions are on the rise there, with a wave of intra-opposition assassinations and clashes leaving at least 20 rebels dead in 48 hours, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“You cannot separate the Al-Hader incident from the assassinations and other killings that have been happening more and more in recent weeks in areas under HTS control,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
The population of Idlib province has swelled to more than two million people as a result of massive transfers of rebels and civilians from onetime opposition zones elsewhere in the country.
The killings come as the White Helmets are facing a “freeze” on funding from the United States, which is still reviewing over $200 million earmarked for stabilization in Syria.