April 18, 2018 / 12:21 PM / 5 months ago

Iraq sentences 212 to death in Mosul area since recapture from Islamic State

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi courts have sentenced 212 people to death in Mosul and surrounding areas, most of them for complicity with Islamic State, since the area was retaken by Iraqi forces in July and August 2017, a judiciary spokesman said on Wednesday.

Mosul was home to two million people before being overrun in 2014 by Islamic State which proclaimed a “caliphate” stretching into neighbouring Syria.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared full victory over the group last December after Iraqi forces drove its last remnants from the country.

Since then, Human rights groups have accused Iraqi and other regional forces of inconsistencies in the judicial process and flawed trials leading to unfair convictions.

Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said on Wednesday that criminal courts falling under the Nineveh Federal Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Mosul, had so far ruled on a total of 815 cases since the area was recaptured from Islamic State.

“The statistics coming from the criminal courts show that 815 people have gone on trial and that 212 were sentenced to death. A further 150 were sentenced to life in prison,” said judiciary spokesman Judge Abdul-Sattar al-Birqdar.

It was not immediately clear how many, if any, of the death sentences had been already carried out.

“The vast majority of these rulings were against elements of the Islamic State terrorist organisation who were proven to have committed crimes, and came after public trials conducted in accordance with the law. Defendants were afforded their rights,” Birqdar said.

Another 341 people were jailed for various terms and 112 were acquitted, he said.

New York-based Human Rights Watch released an 80-page report in December accusing Iraqi federal and Kurdish regional judiciaries of violating the rights of Islamic State suspects with flawed trials, arbitrary detentions under harsh conditions and broad prosecutions.

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Richard Balmforth

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