Iraqi court sentences IS leader's sister to death

March 08, 2018 - 5:21 am

BAGHDAD (AP) — A Baghdad court has convicted the sister of the top leader of the Islamic State group on terrorism charges and sentenced her to death, a spokesman said Thursday.

The spokesman of Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, said in a statement that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's sister was found guilty for "offering logistic support and help to (IS militants) in carrying out criminal acts."

The woman, whose name was not released, was also found guilty of "distributing money" among IS militants in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city which was under their rule for more than three years from mid-2014, Bayrkdar added.

Bayrkdar said the woman's husband was earlier also sentenced to death as a member of the IS leadership.

Iraq declared victory over IS last December, after driving the militants from northern and central Iraq. Hundreds of women, including foreigners, were arrested in the sweep. Since then, Iraq's Central Criminal Court has issued number of sentences against IS women, ranging from years in prison to death by hanging.

Al-Baghdadi's whereabouts remain unknown.

Rumors have surfaced on several occasions of his death and injuries in airstrikes and fighting in both Iraq and Syria, territories where IS had declared an Islamic "caliphate," though there was never anything to back them up.

Al-Baghdadi, believed to be in his mid-40s, was seen in public only once when he declared himself the leader of IS from a historic mosque in Mosul, just a few weeks after IS captured the city in the summer of 2014, along with entire swaths of northern and western Iraq.

Since then, he has only released audio messages to his followers from time to time, urging them to keep on fighting.

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