(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – Several international media houses are reporting that a Trinidadian was among six women sentenced to death in Iraq for having links to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
According to the report, five women from Azerbaijan were condemned to death along with a woman from Trinidad by an Iraqi court on Tuesday, while two women from Russia, both holding children in their arms, were sentenced to life in prison.
This latest incident comes on the backdrop of the February sentencing of 16 Turkish women to death by hanging for joining Islamic State, along with that of a German woman in January, who was found guilty of belonging to ISIS.
Having declared war against ISIS in December, Iraq has since invoked its anti-terrorism law, which empowers courts to convict people who are believed to have helped ISIS even if they are not accused of violence.
The report stated that under Iraqi anti-terrorism laws, a total of 97 foreign women have now been condemned to death since January and 185 others to life imprisonment by courts in Baghdad, and added that most of the women were from Turkey and republics of the former Soviet Union. At Tuesday’s ruling, French national Djamila Boutoutaou, 29, was sentenced to life in prison.
However, according to the report, Iraqi authorities have not announced any of the sentences being carried out.
When contacted Umar Abdullah, head of the Islamic Front said his organisation is aware of the situation but the details were sketchy.
“We don’t know what were the procedures of the court, what evidence was produced or the identity of the individual but we’re making every effort to get her identity.”
Abdullah said this situation could have been prevented.
“For the longest while we have been calling on the Government to look into reports of women and children held in Iraq and to make intervention necessary in getting these citizens back home. These women and children would have left in search of a better life, similar to how citizens go to America seeking betterment, and would not have been involved in any battles in support of ISIS. Thus, we suspect that this individual was a member of that contingent.”
He said the lack of effort on the Government’s part is disheartening.
“There was a family held in Jordan, and after arrangements were made, the wife and children returned but when the plane arrived in Tobago the husband was not on it.
There’s no information to his whereabouts, which means he’s still out there, and the Government have not issued a statement regarding this. They are simply not doing enough to help citizens who get into difficulties abroad.
“The Government have no idea as to how to engage the international community, yet the international community can come into our country and do whatever they want,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah said steps should be taken to get this woman home and if there are other citizens held in Iraqi camps, then every avenue should be pursued in getting them home as well.
The Express was told to submit its question via email when an attempt was made to get a comment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.