Iraq begins trial proceedings for 900 militant suspects

Iraq has already tried thousands of its own nationals arrested on home soil for joining Daesh — including women — and has sentenced hundreds to death. (File photo: Reuters)
Updated 14 April 2019
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Iraq begins trial proceedings for 900 militant suspects

BAGHDAD: Iraq has begun trial proceedings for nearly 900 Iraqi suspected members of the Daesh group caught fleeing extremist territory in neighboring Syria, a judicial source told AFP on Sunday.
They were handed over to Iraqi authorities by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which ousted Daesh from swathes of eastern Syria including territory bordering Iraq.
“We received the interrogation files of nearly 900 Iraqi Daesh members coming from Syria,” the court official said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
“The specialized terrorism court has begun setting dates for their trial in batches,” the source added.
The nearly 900 suspected militants were transferred by the SDF to Iraqi custody in recent months as the remnants of Daesh’ once sprawling self-declared “caliphate” collapsed in neighboring Syria.
Additional Iraqi suspects are in SDF custody and awaiting transferral, a security source told AFP Sunday.
“They will be handed over in batches on the Syrian-Iraqi border. They include very influential leaders, but IS had sought to keep them hidden,” the security source said using another acronym for Daesh.
One of those destined to be handed over was deeply involved in Daesh’ efforts to develop chemical weapons, he said.
Iraq has already tried thousands of its own nationals arrested on home soil for joining Daesh — including women — and has sentenced hundreds to death.
The country remains in the top five “executioner” nations in the world, according to an Amnesty International report released last week.
The number of death sentences issued by Iraqi courts more than quadrupled from 65 in 2017 to at least 271 in 2018.
But fewer were actually carried out, according to Amnesty, with 52 executions in 2018 compared to 125 in 2017.
In addition to locals, Iraq has also tried hundreds of foreigners, condemning many to life in prison and others to death, although no foreign Daesh members have yet been executed.
Among those awaiting trial in Baghdad are 12 accused French Daesh members, who were caught in Syria and transferred to Iraqi custody in February.
Baghdad has offered to try all foreign fighters in SDF custody — estimated at around 1,000 — in exchange for millions of dollars, Iraqi government sources have told AFP.
Rights groups including Human Rights Watch have criticized these trials, which they say often rely on circumstantial evidence or confessions obtained under torture.


Arab Parliament calls on UN and Arab League to classify Houthis as a terrorist group

Updated 19 June 2019
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Arab Parliament calls on UN and Arab League to classify Houthis as a terrorist group

  • The Parliament will vote on the draft resolution before submitting it to the UN and Arab League
  • The spokesperson called the Houthi attacks a war crime

DUBAI: The Arab Parliament revealed on Wednesday they are in the process of submitting a draft resolution, calling on the United Nations and Arab League to take a firm and immediate stance to classify the Iranian-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist group, Saudi state-news agency SPA reported.

The Parliament will vote on the draft resolution before presenting it to the secretary general of the UN and the Arab League’s secretary general, Meshaal bin Fahm Al-Sulami, spokesperson of the Arab Parliament, said.

The Parliament will not condone any group targeting civilian areas, such as Houthi attacks in neighboring countries like Saudi, he said.

These attacks are a war crime, Al-Sulami said.

He also mentioned that Houthi militias are threatening Yemeni MPs for attending Parliament sessions.

The announcement came during a press conference, as the latest session of the Parliament, headed by Al-Sulamai and in the presence of the speaker of the Yemeni Parliament, Sultan Al-Burkani, kicked off.

The Parliament’s session will focus on the current crises, challenges and developments in Arab countries, and will discuss the efforts of the Parliament to support joint Arab action against the dangers and threats facing the Arab national security.