TASS, April 29. Iraq sentenced 19 Russian women to life imprisonment on Sunday for joining the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia), Iraqi satellite TV network Alsumaria said.
By the time of reporting, TASS has not received comment from Russia’s embassy to Iraq.
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."
"Working contacts have been established with all relevant Iraqi agencies, which helped to comprehend the essence and scale of the problem," she noted.
Since the summer of 2017, 73 underage children and 24 women have been brought back to Russia from Iraq and Syria. 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.