Tel Keif, Iraq
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. “Not guilty,” the defendant, Abdullah al-Jabouri, told the judge in a session of one of Iraq’s counterterrorism courts this week. He 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, but he denied ever swearing allegiance to the group.
Iraq is holding huge numbers of detainees on suspicion of ties to the Islamic State group — around 11,000, according to Iraqi officials — and they are being rushed through counterterrorism courts in trials that raise questions over whether justice is being done. At the same time, families are often left in the dark about where their loved ones are being detained or what their fates are.—Agencies