An Iraqi court sentenced a French woman to life in prison today for membership in the Islamic State group.
Melina Boughedir, 28, was initially sentenced to six months in jail for entering the country illegally, but the court imposed a tougher sentence after prosecutors presented new evidence, including pictures of her French husband posing with IS fighters. The verdict can be appealed.
Boughedir, who was detained in the northern city of Mosul last year, appeared in court with her two-year-old daughter. She was represented by three lawyers.
Iraq detained thousands of people, including hundreds of foreigners, as it drove IS from Mosul and other areas. Some have been deported, while others have been sentenced in quick trials as the judiciary works through the large number of cases.
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said last week that Boughedir was a “combatant” and a “Daesh terrorist”, on French television channel LCI. “When you go to Mosul in 2016, (you go) to fight, so she is judged on the location of her actions… She fought against Iraqi units, she is judged in Iraq”.
The comments prompted anger from Boughedir’s lawyers. They made public a letter yesterday in which they denounced a breach of the presumption of innocence.