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Dutch court convicts Islamic State militant of war crimes

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch judges on Tuesday convicted an Islamic State militant of war crimes in Iraq and Syria and sentenced him to 7-1/2 years in prison after he posed with a crucified body and shared images of dead victims online.

Netherlands-born Oussama Achraf Akhlafa, 24, was found guilty of membership of a terrorist organisation. He fought alongside IS militants in Mosul in Iraq and in Raqqa, Syria, between 2014 and 2016.

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of 7 years, 8 months.

The court said Akhlafa had posed smiling next to the crucified body of a man who had been executed by IS, and had posted the picture on Facebook.

“He violated the personal dignity of the deceased, thereby breaching the Geneva Convention”, the court said, in a reference to the treaties protecting the rights of war victims.

Akhlafa was tried under so-called universal jurisdiction, which enables war crimes to be prosecuted regardless of where they were committed, in the first trial in the Netherlands dealing with war crimes committed by an IS militant.

A second defendant, Dutch-born 24-year-old Reda Nidalha, was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison for membership of a terrorist organisation.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry)

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