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2017/01/11 | 13:01
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Court sentences 47 PMU militiamen to death, prison over murder, kidnapping

(Iraq News)- Baghdad ( Iraq’s central criminal court said on Wednesday it had sentenced 47 affiliates with the mostly-Shia militias fighting Islamic State with the Iraqi government to death and prison over charges of murder and arms possession.

The sentences levied upon Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) affiliates ranged from 15 years, life in prison and death after they were convicted of murder, kidnapping and the illegal possession of arms, said court president, Maher al-Aaraji, in a press conference following the verdict.

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi had occasionally vowed to hold accountable “infiltrators” who give a bad image of the militias.In December, Iraqi President Fuad Masum approved a law passed by parliament in November that recognized al-Hashd al-Shaabi as a national force.The passing of the long-debated bill came amid intense objections from Sunni groups within the parliament who feared the law would grant the militia unchecked powers, and therefore stoke sectarian tensions.

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi was formed by a decree from Iraq’s top Shia clergy to combat the Islamic State militants who took over many regions of Iraq in 2014.

The militia is currently engaged in fighting against ISIS on the side of the Iraqi government forces, but its involvement in the liberation of areas inhabited by Sunnis has aroused international fears, especially among Sunni powers such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as well as from the United Nations.

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