Iraq clears Swedish woman accused of belonging to Daesh

The court acquitted her “for lack of sufficient evidence.” (Shutterstock)
Updated 31 October 2018
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Iraq clears Swedish woman accused of belonging to Daesh

  • Victoria Lazar, a Swede of Serbian origin in her late 20s, was acquitted of the charge “for lack of sufficient evidence”

BAGHDAD: A court in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday cleared a Swedish woman of allegations that she belonged to the Daesh group due to lack of evidence, a judicial source said.
Under Iraq’s anti-terrorism law, courts can sentence to death anyone found guilty of belonging to IS, including non-combatants.
cthe judicial source told AFP.
But she was sentenced in a separate case to six months in prison for illegally entering Iraq, the source added.
During questioning, Lazar had told interrogators she had come to Iraq with her husband and their three children, now aged five, four and three.
She said her husband had been killed in 2016 during bombing of Tal Afar, near Mosul in the north of the country.
More than 300 people, including around 100 foreigners, have been sentenced to death and many others to life imprisonment in Iraq for joining Daesh, the Sunni extremist group which at its peak controlled nearly a third of the country.


France urges Iran to free human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

Updated 8 min 57 sec ago
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France urges Iran to free human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

PARIS: France on Thursday called for Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to be released and warned Tehran that its adherence to a nuclear accord does not give it a blank cheque on human rights.
“We will do all we can to secure the release of Mrs.Sotoudeh,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the upper chamber Senate.
“She was condemned under astonishing conditions,” for “defending the rights of women, in particular those who contest the obligation to wear the Islamic veil,” he added.
Sotoudeh’s husband Reza Khandan told AFP on Sunday that his wife had been sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison over a case with seven charges, but she is to only serve the longest sentence, 12 years imposed on Sunday for “encouraging corruption and debauchery.”
She has also been convicted of espionage.
Sotoudeh has also been sentenced to a total of 148 lashes for appearing in court without the hijab Islamic head covering and for another offense.
According to Khandan, Sotoudeh has refrained from choosing a lawyer as attorneys on her previous cases have faced prosecution for representing her.
“We have been making considerable efforts in recent months to preserve the (Iranian) nuclear accord, despite America’s withdrawal,” said Le Drian.
“We are doing so because we respect our signature, but Iran must also respect its obligations in particular those international agreements relating to civil and political rights,” he added.
Last month the UN atomic watchdog said that Iran has been adhering to its deal with world powers on limiting its nuclear program, as diplomatic wrangling continues over the future of the accord.
The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran was still complying with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with global powers under which Tehran drastically scaled back its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.
Last week, European nations rejected a call from US Vice President Mike Pence to follow the US lead in withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal.
Le Drian said Thursday: “Our wish to preserve the Vienna accord does not grant carte-blanche to Iran and certainly not in the matter of human rights.”
Before her arrest, Sotoudeh, 55, had taken on the cases of several women arrested for appearing in public without headscarves in protest at the mandatory dress code in force in Iran.
Sotoudeh won the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize in 2012 for her work on high-profile cases, including those of convicts on death row for offenses committed as minors.
She spent three years in prison after representing dissidents arrested during mass protests in 2009 against the disputed re-election of ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.