Iraq sentences Russian member of Daesh to death

A court in Iraq on Thursday sentenced to death a Russian extremist for being a member of Daesh, a judicial source said. (AFP)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Iraq sentences Russian member of Daesh to death

  • More than 300 people, including around 100 foreigners, have been sentenced to death in Iraq in the past few months.
  • Most of the convicted foreigners are Turkish or come from former Soviet states.

BAGHDAD: A court in Iraq on Thursday sentenced to death a Russian extremist for being a member of Daesh, a judicial source said.
The person who received the sentence in Baghdad’s central criminal court was only identified by the name Hassanov, said the same source.
More than 300 people, including around 100 foreigners, have been sentenced to death in Iraq in the past few months, while many others have received life sentences, according to the source.
Most of the convicted foreigners are Turkish or come from former Soviet states.
A German woman and a French woman were recently sentenced to life imprisonment.
Hundreds of Iraqis appear in court near-daily, accused of being militants.
On Wednesday, two Iraqi defendants were released, a judicial source told AFP.
Daesh took over nearly one third of Iraq in a blistering 2014 offensive, seizing control of the country’s second largest city, Mosul, among others.
Baghdad declared military victory over the extremists in December, after expelling them from all urban centers.
During its three-year long self-proclaimed caliphate, Daesh perpetrated “crimes against humanity,” according to a UN commission of inquiry that has called for the group’s leaders to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.
The president of the court of appeals in eastern Baghdad met David Marshall, an official at the UN’s Human Rights Office, on Thursday.
Marshall said a UN delegation would visit Iraq soon, according to a statement by Iraq’s judiciary.


Iran faces ‘strongest sanctions in history’

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Iran faces ‘strongest sanctions in history’

  • US Secretary of State laid out Trump administration’s strategy for constraining Iran’s nuclear program
  • US threatens "strongest sanctions in history" if Iranian government does not change course

WASHINGTON: The US told Iran on Monday to drop its nuclear ambitions and pull out of the Syrian civil war in a list of demands that marked a new hard-line against Tehran and prompted an Iranian official to warn that Washington seeks regime change.

Weeks after US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, his administration threatened to impose “the strongest sanctions in history,” setting Washington and Tehran on a deeper course of confrontation.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded sweeping changes that would force Iran effectively to reverse years of its foreign policies.

“The sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen for itself and the people of Iran,” Pompeo said in his first major speech since becoming secretary of state.

“These will be the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are done,” he added.

Pompeo took aim at Iran’s policy of expanding its influence in the Middle East through support for proxy armed groups in countries such as Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

He warned that the US would “crush” Iranian operatives and allies abroad and told Tehran to pull out forces under its command from the Syrian civil war where they back President Bashar Assad.

Iran is unlikely to accede to the US demands. Tension between the two countries has grown notably since Trump this month withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Pompeo warned that if Iran fully resumed its nuclear program Washington would be ready to respond and said the administration would hold companies doing prohibited business in Iran to account.

“Our demands on Iran are not unreasonable: Give up your program,” Pompeo said, “Should they choose to go back, should they begin to enrich, we are fully prepared to respond to that as well,” he said, declining to elaborate.

Pompeo said if Iran made major changes, the US was prepared to ease sanctions, re-establish full diplomatic and commercial relations and support the country’s re-integration into the international economic system.

The speech did not explicitly call for regime change but Pompeo repeatedly urged the Iranian people not to put up with their leaders, specifically naming President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“At the end of the day the Iranian people will get to make a choice about their leadership. If they make the decision quickly, that would be wonderful, if they choose not to do so we will stay hard at this until we achieve the outcomes I set forward,” said Pompeo.