Tel Keif — The entire trial lasted just over half an hour. A grey-haired man was led into the defendant’s booth. He fidgeted as the judge read the charges against him: Swearing allegiance to the Islamic State group and working for the militants as an employee at a water station.
The defendant Abdullah al-Jabouri pleaded,”Not guilty,” as he told the judge in a session of one of Iraq’s counterterrorism courts this week. Al- Jabouri said he had worked for Nineveh province’s water department for more than 20 years and stayed at his post when IS took over in 2014 and said he never plead his allegiance to the group.
He said, “All government employees continued in their jobs at the water facility,”
The judge interrupted, “I am asking you to speak only about yourself.” Afterwards the judge and his two associates went into deliberations. After just a few minutes they returned with their verdict; guilty, sentenced to 15 years in prison. Al-Jabouri with his head bowed, was quickly led out and the next accused IS member was ushered in.
Iraq is currently holding a massive number of detainees on suspicion of ties to the Islamic State group, the number is around 11 000, according to Iraqi officials.
The detainees are being rushed through counterterrorism courts in trials and has raised questions whether justice is being served. Most of the times families are often in the dark about where their loved ones are being detained or what their fates will be.
According to The Associated Press they attended several trials in the previous week that were being held in Tel Keif, north of Mosul.
Throughout the trials they notice it was quite short, more likely less than 30 minutes, ending with guilty verdicts mostly. Convictions are based on confessions that defendants and rights groups say intelligence agents extract by intimidation, torture and abuse.
A defence lawyer Mahfoudh Hamad Ismael said, “the system is built on an unjust foundation,”
“These suspects’ cases are done and finished the first day they enter a security detention center or an intelligence facility.”
Photo Credit- بغداد بوست