The court in Qamishli has convicted around 1,500 defendants since 2015.
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The "Defense of the People" Court is an almost intimate place. Three judges – two men and a woman – sat behind a large desk. The judges are Kurds, belonging to the U.S-backed self-rule authority that the community has set up over much of the north and east of Syria. After defeating Daesh in battle, Syria's Kurds are now eager to show they can bring justice against the group's members. Then in November, when Daesh was collapsing, he turned himself in to Kurdish authorities.Syrian Kurdish authorities have built a justice system from scratch, without any recognition from the Syrian government or the outside world, and are trying hundreds of Syrians accused of joining Daesh.So the Kurds abolished the death sentence and offered reduced sentences to Daesh members who hand themselves in. The harshest sentence is life in prison, which is actually a 20-year sentence. Instead, the tribunals trying Daesh suspects are called the Defense of the People Courts.Since the Syrian government pulled out of Kurdish areas in 2012, Kurds established local administrations, security forces, parliaments and courts.
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