Finnish court sentences Iraqi ex-soldier for war crimes

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A Helsinki court on Thursday sentenced a former Iraqi soldier for war crimes after he was filmed cutting off the head of a dead Islamic State fighter.

Ahmed Jabbar Hasan, 41, a corporal in the Iraqi army between 2003 and 2015, was handed an 18-month suspended sentence for desecrating and violating the dignity of a dead body, which constitute war crimes under international law.

During an operation against the IS near the town of Karma in March 2015, Hasan was filmed decapitating the body of an IS militant and then brandishing the man's head.

The video was uploaded to Hasan's Facebook page, along with a second clip of him posing in front of burning bodies.

Hasan admitted to the acts but denied they constituted a war crime.

The court did not release details of when, or for what reason, Hasan came from Iraq to Finland.

The Helsinki District Court quoted Hasan as saying that the IS fighter "had been a terrorist and was himself accused of far more serious crimes" and that he, on the other hand, "had not caused anyone suffering, pain or injury."

Hasan carried out his actions knowing that four of his close army colleagues had been captured and executed by IS, court documents said.

However, the judges found Hasan guilty, ruling that the cruelty of IS "does not justify inhuman and degrading treatment".

In 2016 two Iraqi migrants to Finland also received suspended sentences after they were pictured on social media cutting off the heads of dead fighters.