Iraq court sentences Belgian militant to death for ISIS membership

Abu Hamza al-Beljiki had pleaded “not guilty” to terror charges. (AFP)

An Iraqi court on Tuesday sentenced a Belgian militant, who threatened Europe in propaganda videos, to death by hanging for membership of ISIS, an AFP journalist reported.

Tarik Jadaoun -- known by his nom de guerre Abu Hamza al-Beljiki -- earlier pleaded not guilty to a range of terror, insisting he had “got lost” and pleading for mercy.

Born in 1988, Jadaoun -- who was captured in ex-ISIS bastion Mosul in August -- appeared before the Baghdad court dressed in a beige prison uniform with a shaved head and bushy moustache.

The hearing lasted for less than 10 minutes, with a judge sentencing him to be “hanged until death” after Jadaoun refused to defend himself after the charges were read out.

Moroccan roots

Jadaoun, who has Moroccan roots, said during a first hearing on May 10 that he was forced by “one of the top ISIS commanders” to appear in videos threatening attacks against Belgium and France.

The footage saw Jadaoun earn the moniker “the new Abaaoud”, after his compatriot Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the organisers of November 2015 attacks in Paris.

Earlier, investigators alleged Jadaoun was in charge of the “cubs of the caliphate” -- about 60 children aged eight to 13 who received intensive fitness and weapons training.

In total, Iraqi courts have sentenced to death more than 300 people, including dozens of foreigners, for belonging to ISIS, judicial sources said last month.

Since January, some 100 foreign nationals have been sentenced to death in Baghdad and around 185 to life in prison, officials said. Thousands of foreign fighters from across the world flocked to the black banner of the militants as the group seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52
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