by Jamal Hashim, Ali l-Khaiyam
BAQUBA, Iraq, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Ranya, an Iraqi female teenage suicide bomber who refused to blow up herself and was captured last year, was so calm and despair when she received a seven-year and a half imprisonment by Diyala juvenile court Monday.
"Diyala juvenile court has convicted the minor Ranya Ibrahim al-Anbaki and sentences her to seven years and six months," a source from Diyala court told Xinhua.
"The sentence is initial and can be appealed within 30 days," the source said.
"I haven't committed any crime or any sin. I was the victim. They forced me to wear the explosive-belt. I didn't want to kill any human being," said the 16-year-old Ranya, who seemed yielding to the punishment as if she expected the sentence, but still her eyes were moving fast around the courtroom pleading to back her freedom.
As the convicted woman was escorted to a police vehicle, Husam Khalil, a policeman in the vehicle opened the window for Ranya to let her take a look for the city as they were travelling to the jail of the provincial police headquarters.
Khalil told reporters who gathered around the police vehicle that he sympathizes with her because she is "young and naive."
"I know she wants to see the reaction of people after she is convicted. She also wants to see how is life outside the jail and look at the people whom she won't see for years," Khalil said.
"Poor girl, I feel sorry for her because she is young and easy to be fooled," he added.
On Aug. 23 last year, Ranya walked to an Iraqi police checkpoint on her way to a crowded central market in Baquba, some 65 km northeast of Baghdad. A policeman had suspicions that something odd with the girl and demanded to search her. The girl promptly announced she is wearing a suicide belt, strapped like a lethal corset round her waist.
A police footage widely circulated around the world last year, showed Ranya was handcuffed to metal railings while a male police officer was approaching her carefully to remove her outer garments. Then he very carefully defused her explosive belt that was packed with 10 kg explosive.
Later, the police officer who defused the explosive device was given a bonus of 5 million Iraqi dinars (about 4,250 U.S. dollars).Such act does not only needs bravery, it also needs a degree of professionalism.
The Iraqi police believe that Ranya's capture was substantial step forward in fighting terrorism because it led to capture three cells tasked with recruiting and training women for suicide attacks.
"Ranya's capture was a turning point for anti-terrorism efforts because it gave us a better understanding for the nature of the activities of suicide bomber cells," said Major Kamal al-Timimi from Baquba police.
"We have dismantled and captured three cells of recruiting women as suicide bombers," Timimi said, adding that "Ranya's information helped us to capture eight female suicide bombers in August 2008, along with a woman who was recruiting suicide bomber with the help of al-Qaida militants."
Women suicide bombers have carried out dozens of major attacks during the years of 2007 and 2008, all were against Iraqi security force, Awakening Council groups and civilians at crowded places, including popular markets and neighborhoods, Timimi said.
Ranya was born in a mud house at a poor village near the town of Abu Seida, some 85 km northeast of Baghdad before her family moved to another mud house at the western edge of Diyala's provincial capital of Baquba.
Her father and one of her brothers were killed by the sectarian strife that engulfed Iraq during the years after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Like all girls in the world, Ranya had her own dream. She has long been expected to be a doctor so that she can help treat the patients of poor people. Unfortunately, her family's poverty forced her to quit school.
Her family members made her marry Mohammed Hassan al-Dulaimi, a17-year-old young man, who was a member of al-Qaida in Iraq network. Dulaimi was also captured early in 2009 and was found involved in many murders.
Ranya's mother and her aunt were also captured because they were responsible for recruiting several female suicide bombers.
Numan al-Khazraji, an Iraqi sociologist, said "she is a naive and can be fooled easily. I think she was not aware of what is going on around her, because according to her confessions she drank something that she doesn't know and then she became unaware of the people around her."
"She is not a religious extremist. But she is a scared personality and lonely after she lost her father and a brother along with the extreme poverty for the family. Therefore, she fell easily in the trap which was set up for her by her husband," Khazraji said.
"If it is true that I heard she refused to blew herself up because she did not want to hurt innocent people, then she is not seeking revenge from the society despite her misery life, and thatis a good point for her," Khazali said.
He pointed out that poverty and desire to revenge the death of loved ones in the family are the main reasons behind attacks against security members. Let alone the fundamentalism that may facilitate recruiting even women suicide bombers.
Hussein al-Zubaidi, a lawyer, hailed the court's verdict against Ranya, saying "it was just and goes with the spirit of the law."
"The court judgment took into consideration the age of Ranya under 18 and gave her a chance to look forward to start again another life in the future," Zubaidi said.
He added that in the coming weeks, there will be more trials for women suicide bombers and their recruiters, including Ranya's mother which is believed to be involved with recruiting cell of women suicide bombers.
The security forces also believe that Ranya's mother was aware and may be involved in recruiting her teen daughter to be a suicide bomber.