In a small holding room in a Baghdad court, French citizen Djamila Boutoutao cradled her two-year-old daughter and begged for help.
Boutoutao, 29, is accused of being a member of Islamic State. Whispering in her native tongue within earshot of other accused Isis members – all foreigners like her – she said life had become unbearable.
“I’m facing a death sentence or life in prison. No one tells me anything, not the ambassador, not people in prison.”
So did her fellow accused – all from central Asia or Turkey, who had all lost husbands and, in some cases, children as the Islamic State collapsed in Iraq last year.
More than 40,000 foreigners from 110 countries are estimated to have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join the jihadist group. Of those, around 1,900 are believed to have been French citizens, and around 800 were British.
Boutoutao arrived in Iraq in 2014, with her husband, Mohammed Nassereddine and two children. He was killed in Mosul in 2016 as was her son, Abdullah, one year later. She was captured by the Kurdish peshmerga in northern Iraq and eventually sent to Baghdad, where the fortified court in the centre of the capital has become a focal point of the post-Isis era.
Read more at UK Guardian