Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
The fugitive leader of Daesh killed himself during a US military operation in north-west Syria in 2019. Image Credit: AP

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi court has sentenced to death a wife of slain Daesh (Islamic State) terorist group leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi on charges of detaining Yazidi women, the judiciary said on Wednesday.

The wife of the polygamous Baghdadi was brought back to Iraq after being detained in Turkey, judicial sources told AFP under cover of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the press.

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“The Karkh (west Baghdad) criminal court sentenced to death the wife of the terrorist Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi for the crime of working with the Daesh terrorist group and detaining Yazidi women in her house,” the Supreme Judicial Council said on its website.

The slain leader’s wife detained the Yazidis who “were later kidnapped” by Daesh militants in the Sinjar district of northern Iraq, it added.

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A judicial source identified her as Asma Mohammed.

Washington announced in October 2019 that US troops had killed Al Baghdadi in an operation in northwestern Syria, five years after he proclaimed a “caliphate” across swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

During their lightning advance through northern Iraq in 2014, the extremists of Daesh singled out the non-Muslim Yazidis, systematically killing thousands of men and forcing women into sexual slavery.

Over several years, Iraqi courts have handed down hundreds of death sentences as well as life prison terms under the penal code for membership in “a terrorist group”.

Among those convicted in Iraq were more than 500 foreign men and women found guilty of joining Daesh.

Iraq announced in February it had secured “the repatriation of the family” of Al Baghdadi, with a judicial source telling AFP that Baghdadi’s wife, “detained in Turkey”, had been returned along with her children.

The announcement coincided with a broadcast of an interview with “Baghdadi’s wife” by Saudi-owned pan-Arab TV channel Al Arabiya. It named her as Asma Mohammed.

In November 2019, Turkey said it had arrested a wife of Baghdadi, whom Turkish media identified as Asma Fawzi Mohammed Al Qubaysi, in June 2018.

US-backed forces defeated Daesh in Iraq in 2017, and in Syria two years later. But remnants of the group continue to attack civilians and security personnel in both countries.