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Suspended one-year prison sentence in Iraqi war crimes trial

A Tampere region court has handed down a one-year-four-month conditional prison sentence to an Iraqi man accused of war crimes. At the same time police are also investigating other cases involving alleged war crimes.

Sotarikoksesta epäilty Pirkanmaan käräjäoikeudessa 18.3.2016
Image: Eve Niskanen / Yle

The trial began Friday in the Tampere District Court of an Iraqi man accused of committing war crimes in Iraq. The 29 year-old Iraqi received a conditional prison sentence of one year and four months after being found guilty.

According to the charge sheet the man had been a member of a paramilitary group related to the Iraqi army and had participated in the conflict against the extremist organisation Islamic State.

The prosecution charged that the accused had published on Facebook three images of the head of an enemy combatant who apparently died in the fighting. It was possible to identify the deceased and his identity had also been revealed. The incident took place in January 2015.

The prosecutor said that the deceased had been treated in an inhumane and degrading manner, and that his honour had been tarnished.

The prosecution also alleged that there had been no dispute over the course of events. During a preliminary investigation the accused had confessed to the events laid out in the charge sheet. However he denied that he was guilty of any crime.

Prosecutors previously demanded a two-year prison sentence for the offence. They said that the ruling could represent a precedent for other similar cases.

Police probing other war crimes cases

Next week a court in Kanta-Häme will begin hearing a case in which another Iraqi man is also suspected of committing war crimes. The charges also relate to desecration of a corpse. The man had been taken into custody in the Hämeenlinna area.

Police say that there is no link between the two cases.

In addition to these two cases, the National Bureau of Investigation is also investigating 23- year-old Iraqi twins who were held in Forssa, western Finland last December. They are suspected of killing 11 people.

All of the suspects have denied the charges against them.

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