An Iraqi court sentenced a German woman and a French man to life in prison Monday after finding them guilty of belonging to the Islamic State terrorist organization.
These imprisonments are a result of hundreds of arrests and trials captured after ISIS’s defeat in Iraq in 2017, Reuters reports.
French citizen Lahcen Ammar Gueboudj, in his 50s, and German citizen Nadia Rainer Hermann, 22, both pleaded not guilty in their separate trials, and both have admitted confusion during their trials due to language barriers as well as a lack of communication with their state-appointed lawyers.
Gueboudj told the judge at the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad that he only went to Syria to retrieve his son who had joined ISIS and was living in Raqqa, the report states.
“I would never have left France if my son hadn’t been in Syria,” he told the judge through a translator.
Gueboudj told Reuters he signed papers that he did not know were an admittance of his having joined the militant group, and has spoken to consular staff only once since being detained in 2017.
Hermann had already been given a one-year jail term for illegally entering Iraq, and was arrested with her mother in Mosul in 2017. (RELATED: ISIS Goes On Bombing Spree Throughout Syria Killing Hundreds)
Her mother, a German of Moroccan descent, was sentenced to death for ISIS membership, but was later commuted to a life sentence, Deutsche Welle reports.
Hermann told the court Monday that she traveled to Iraq “to run away from the people of IS,” and her defense attorney said her marriage to an ISIS fighter was not a conscious decision because she was a minor at the time.
Hermann told the judges she did not believe in ISIS’s ideology, but she previously admitted on trial that she received a salary of 50,000 Iraqi dinars ($42) per month from the organization.
“This whole process is confusing,” she told Reuters from her holding cell.
A life sentence in Iraq equates to about 20 years, and the sentences can be appealed.
Iraqi police have arrested hundreds of suspected ISIS members of several nationalities in an effort to fully eradicated their presence from the country, and about 20 women so far have been sentenced to death for their alleged membership to the organization, Reuters reported.
The U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday that the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and its partners have continued strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria.
Operation Roundup, which began May 1, conducted 20 strikes consisting of 27 engagements between July 30 and Aug. 5.
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