Iraq issues death sentence against wife of late Islamic State leader

By Tala Ramadan and Jana Choukeir

DUBAI (Reuters) - An Iraqi court issued a death sentence against a wife of the late Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for working with the group and detaining Yazidi women in her home, the Iraqi judiciary said on Wednesday without naming the woman.

The Supreme Judicial Council in Iraq said the Yazidi women were kidnapped by Islamic State gangs in Sinjar district, west of Nineveh Governorate, and then held prisoner by the woman in her house in Mosul. The woman is being held in Iraqi custody.

"The criminal court today sentenced Baghdadi's wife to death by hanging for crimes against humanity and genocide against the Yazidi people and also for contributing to terrorism actions," a court official who declined to go on record as he is not authorised to talk to the media told Reuters.

The ruling must be ratified by an Iraqi appeal court to become final and applicable, the official added.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in November 2019 in a raid by U.S. special forces in northwestern Syria, rose from obscurity to lead the ultra-hardline group and declare himself "caliph" of all Muslims, holding sway over huge areas of Iraq and Syria from 2014-2017 before Islamic State's control disintegrated under U.S.-led attacks.

(Reporting by Tala Ramadan, Ahmed Rasheed, and Jana Choukeir; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)