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Children of Russian women sentenced to life in Iraq to be taken home — ombudsperson

Iraq sentenced 19 Russian women to life imprisonment on Sunday for joining the Islamic State terrorist group, outlawed in Russia

GROZNY, April 29. /TASS/. Children of the Russian women who were given life sentences in Iraq for joining the Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia) will be transported to Russia, Chechen human rights ombudswoman Heda Saratova told TASS on Sunday.

Earlier, TASS reported citing the Iraqi satellite TV network Alsumaria that Iraq sentenced 19 Russian women to life imprisonment on Sunday for joining the Islamic State.

On April 19, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that on April 29, the Iraqi court was scheduled to hear into the cases of eleven Russian women, who were kept in Iraqi penitentiaries, and their children. The diplomat said that Russia’s Embassy to Baghdad and Consulate General in Erbil (Iraq’s Kurdish Autonomous Region) "were monitoring closely the situation with Russian female citizens and their children after receiving first reports in the summer of 2017 that those had been detained by local law enforcement agencies."

"It is crucial for us that they would be allowed to serve sentences in Russia. More than 2,000 women are waiting for trials. Among them are 57 Russian women (both convicted and those awaiting the trial)," Saratova said. "As for the children, we are collecting papers and documents to take them out. We are getting in touch with relatives. We are doing our best."

According to the Chechen human rights commissioner, "there will be no problem" with evacuation of the children from Iraq.

"[The first stage will include] the children who left [Russia] being Russian citizens. The second stage will focus on the children born there. If the mother is a Russian citizen, the child is automatically a Russian citizen and the documents are issued on the site," she added.

Chechnya’s Human Rights Council will insist that "these children be evacuated," Saratova said.

In recent months, more than 100 women and underage children have been evacuated from Iraq and Syria to Russia as well as to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan with the assistance of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, between 50 and 70 women are being kept in the prison of Baghdad’s criminal court. They are reported to have Russian passports. However, they might be identified only after the probe is complete and first verdicts are read out. In addition, some women intentionally destroyed their IDs or lost their passports in hostilities, the foreign ministry said.