British fanatics who travel to Iraq to fight for ISIS face death by hanging after trials lasting as little as ten minutes.
A judge has revealed that a number of UK passport holders are awaiting trial after capture on the battlefield – and says he is protecting Britain by sentencing terrorists to death.
His comments came as Iraq executed 13 convicted terrorists hours after the country’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, ordered the immediate execution of all jihadis on death row in retaliation for IS killing eight hostages.
Abdul Sattar Beraqdar, spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, has tried hundreds of cases involving ISIS at the central criminal court in Baghdad, and sentenced many to death.
The judge said some fighters with British passports had already been sentenced and it was ‘possible’ they had been given the death penalty. More cases are yet to be completed, he added.
His comments are the first public confirmation that there are UK fighters in Iraqi jails. The Foreign Office in London said it was not aware of the cases mentioned.
Arguing that British members of ISIS deserve to die, Mr Beraqdar said: ‘The punishment, as much as it seems strong, will affect the security of your country.
‘I am sure there are hundreds of people in Britain at this moment thinking of committing similar crimes. That’s why we, as Iraqis, if we are tough in sentencing these people, they will think thoroughly before taking any action.’
Some 850 UK citizens are believed to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight with ISIS, and hundreds are still thought to be there.
The Mail is aware of at least one British citizen suspected of fighting for ISIS who is currently detained in Iraq. UK officials examined the possibility of flying him back to Britain on an RAF jet to face trial last year – but ministers blocked the plan, fearing it would ‘open the floodgates’.
It is not clear how many more British fighters are detained in Iraq, but at least three are in prison in Syria, including two members of the notorious ‘Beatles’ gang of hostage executioners.
The Mail was granted access to Baghdad’s high-security central criminal court, where nine ISIS suspects, including one from Turkey, were tried over three hours. Some trials were as short as ten minutes.
In one that lasted 15 minutes, Mohammed Yousif was accused of being a member of ISIS. He pleaded innocent, saying ‘my confession was taken from me by force’.
The judge in the case told the Mail: ‘The savage and brutal crimes they committed, killing people in cold blood – they deserve the maximum punishment.’
A third judge said: ‘You in the UK can put [a terrorist] in jail for the rest of his life and you can spend money on him. We don’t have enough resources.
‘Putting them in jail instead of executing them could lead to them running away. They are not only threatening Iraq if they fled, they would threaten the whole of Europe, including Britain. For that reason, the terrorists should be eliminated here.’
In April a judicial source said more than 300 people, including about 100 foreign women, had been condemned to death in Iraq for links with IS.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘Our policy remains that terrorist fighters should be held to account by the states upon whose territories their crimes have been committed. We oppose the death penalty in all cases.’
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.