In a landmark judgment, the Iraqi Central Criminal Court on Sunday, February 25, sentenced 16 Turkish women to death by hanging after they confessed to marrying Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters and joining the group in Syria.
Iraq is conducting the trials of hundreds of foreign women who have been detained, with hundreds of their children, by Iraqi forces since August, as Isis strongholds crumbled.
He added the convicts were Turkish citizens who had "provided logistical support to Daesh and had married militants of the organization".
Last week, a Turkish woman was sentenced to death by the Iraq court and 10 other women from different countries were given life sentences. Four had young children with them.
According to Frontex, an European Union border agency, "An estimated 30 percent of 5,000 foreign terrorist fighters who resided in Europe, and left to Syria, Iraq or Libya have come back to the Continent".
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Roughly 1,700 women and children have surrendered or been captured since summer 2017, when Iraqi forces began retaking ISIS-controlled territory along the Syrian border.
Human-rights groups say harsh sentences have been handed down after unfair trials.
Earlier this week, a Baghdad court sentenced a French woman, Melina Boughedir, to seven months in jail for entering Iraq illegally but ordered her release on time already served. Further in December, Iraq claimed victory over the defeat of ISIS which had seized about a third of the country in Iraq.
According to experts, an estimated 20,000 people are being held in jail in Iraq for alleged membership of IS.
"Iraqi security officers are routinely denying relatives of suspected ISIS members the security clearance needed to obtain identity cards and other documents, " HRW said. "The court has issued a death sentence in relation to the accused women in accordance with the counterterrorism law", the statement read. "The Iraqi courts need to redirect their priorities". While some women were brought to Iraq and Syria against their will, many traveled voluntarily to join militants in their self-declared "caliphate".