Iraq sentences 23 Russian, Tajik women to life in prison for joining IS

Caravanserai and AFP

BAGHDAD -- Iraq Sunday (April 29) sentenced 29 foreign women, mostly Russians, to life in prison for joining the "Islamic State" (IS) group, the latest in a series of heavy verdicts of those linked to the terrorists.

The head of Baghdad's Central Criminal Court, which deals with terrorism cases, said the women were found guilty of "joining and supporting IS", according to an AFP journalist at the hearing.

The court condemned 19 women from Russia, six from Azerbaijan and four from Tajikistan to life imprisonment.

The women have the right to appeal the sentences.

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), most of the women on trial claimed they were brought to Iraq against their will from Turkey by IS militants.

According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, about 70 "Russian-speaking women" with more than 100 children are in custody in Baghdad, RFE reported.

However, the Russian embassy has no access to the defendants until their trials completed, Zakharova said earlier this month.

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