The Current

10 minutes later, a death sentence: How Iraq is dealing with the aftermath of ISIS

Human rights campaigners are concerned about perfunctory trials taking place in Iraq, as the country tries to deal with thousands of people detained as ISIS collaborators.

'There are no grounds for clemency here,' says New York Times reporter

The Iraqi government declared victory over ISIS in December, but is now faced with dealing with thousands of people detained as collaborators. (Reuters)

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Inside a Baghdad courtroom, Nazli Ismail was given two minutes to defend herself against charges of supporting terrorism.

She told the judge that she came to ISIS territory on her husband's urging, travelling from Turkey to Syria and then on to Iraq. When coalition forces drove the militants back, all but one of her children died in airstrikes.

After proceedings that lasted roughly ten minutes, she was sentenced to death.

"There are no grounds for clemency here," said Margaret Coker, a New York Times reporter who was in the courtroom.

Iraq has seen decades of intense bloodshed, she said, and people support the message that bringing violence and extremism to their country should cost the ultimate price.

The Iraqi government declared victory over ISIS in December, after a three-year effort to drive the militants out. Roughly 20,000 people were detained as collaborators. Thousands have already been convicted, with many sentenced to death.

"Justice [here] is a little bit more of an Old Testament version of justice than what North Americans are used to," Coker said.

Belkis Wille, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch, said that the trials could sow more discord. (Submitted by Belkis Wille)

The Iraqi government is feeling pressured to show the people of Iraq that it has won the battle against ISIS, said Belkis Wille, the senior Iraq and Qatar researcher at Human Rights Watch.

But the decision to expedite these trials will only sow more discord, she warned.

"After so many years of war and violence, Iraq needs to come together again and communities that have been torn apart by ISIS need to start living together again."

These trials "fundamentally undermine the current Iraqi project of reconciliation."

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this page, where you can also share this article across email, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.


This segment was produced by The Current's Geoff Turner, Samira Mohyeddin and Calgary Network Producer Michael O'Halloran.

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