Iraq Sentences Two Europeans to Life for IS Membership
An Iraqi court on Monday sentenced a French man and a German woman to life in prison in the latest punishments handed down for belonging to the Islamic State jihadist group.
Frenchman Lahcen Gueboudj, 58, and a German woman whose name was given only as Nadia were sentenced separately at the Baghdad central criminal court, according to an AFP journalist.
Nadia's mother, a German woman of Moroccan origin, was sentenced to death in January for IS membership but the sentence was later commuted to life, which in Iraq is equivalent to 20 years.
The mother and daughter were arrested in July 2017 in Mosul, the jihadists' former de-facto capital in Iraq where the government declared victory over IS in December last year.
Wearing a black abaya in court, Nadia said she traveled from Syria to Iraq "to run away from the people of IS."
Speaking in German with a few Arabic words, she said she traveled to Syria from Turkey with her mother, her daughter Yamana and her mentally disabled sister who was killed in a bombardment.
Nadia's lawyer stressed that she was a minor at the time and that her marriage to an IS jihadist in Syria was "not a decision taken by an adult in full conscience."
The French defendant, meanwhile, refuted statements made during his interrogations.
"I signed confessions in Arabic without knowing what was written," said Gueboudj, with short grey hair and stubble, wearing a brown prison uniform.
"I would never have left France, if my eldest son Nabil, 25-years-old, hadn't gone to Syria," he said in French.
"I wanted to convince him to return with us to France," added Gueboudj.
The French citizen had traveled with his wife and children to Turkey before entering Syria, and later being arrested in Iraq.