Iraqi court sentences wife of former ISIS leader al-Baghdadi to death

Iraqi court sentences wife of former ISIS leader al-Baghdadi to death

Shafaq News/ The Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council announced on Wednesday that the Al-Karkh Criminal Court has sentenced the wife of the former ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to death. She was found guilty of working with the extremist organization and detaining Yazidi women in her home.

In a statement, the council's media center clarified that "the terrorist detained some Yazidi women in her house, and ISIS gangs subsequently kidnapped them in Sinjar district, west of Nineveh governorate."

The sentence was issued under Article 4/1 in conjunction with Article 2/1 and 2/3 of the Anti-Terrorism Law No. 13 of 2005, and Article 7/1 of the Yazidi Survivors Law No. 8 of 2021.

The role of women within ISIS remains a complex area. While ISIS fighters and their violent ideology dominated the headlines, the lives of ISIS leaders' wives raised intriguing questions. Were they simply bystanders, or did they play a more active part in the group's machinery?

Al-Baghdadi's first wife, Asmaa Mohammed, told Al Arabiya in a previous interview that he and other leaders of the group were "obsessed" with women. Asmaa, who married al-Baghdadi in 1999, said that he owned over 10 Yazidi women as "slaves," adding that al-Baghdadi had also, at one point, married a 13-year-old girl.

The wives of leaders rarely appeared in propaganda or took on public roles. However, this lack of visibility doesn't erase their potential influence. Some reports suggest these women, like Saja al-Dulaimi, one of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's wives who was allegedly an Iraqi doctor, may have been unwilling participants, forced into marriage after the Yazidi genocide in 2014.

In addition, evidence suggests some wives played a role in online propaganda, particularly targeting other women. British national Sally Jones, known as Umm Hussain al-Britaniyah, was an example. Direct peer-to-peer influence likely played a part as well. Wives could have used their connections to manipulate or exploit feelings of isolation in women they knew, persuading them to join the group.

Furthermore, within ISIS territory, some wives may have participated in enforcing the group's rigid gender roles. Acting as a sort of "religious police" enforcing dress codes and behavior for other women, they indirectly promoted ISIS ideology.

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