Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council sentenced the widow of the county’s former Al-Qaeda leader to twenty years in prison for her role in supporting terrorist insurgents. Hasna Ali Yahya was widowed from her husband Abu Ayyub al-Masri, then head of Al-Qaeda’s military wing in Iraq, when he was killed in a joint American-Iraqi military operation last year. Also killed in the raid was Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi, who commanded the organization locally.
The sentence, handed down last week, came as a relief to some after fears that Ali Yahya would face the death penalty. Such concerns spurred a popular campaign to reduce her sentence were she to be found guilty.
Ali Yahya, a Yemeni national, was reportedly unaware of her husband’s true identity when they married in Yemen where Al-Masri was residing on a forged passport. The two had three young children who were also in prison with their mother until Iraqi courts released them at the end of 2010.