Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

Iraq sentences two more suspected ISIS French nationals to death

Courts have condemened many to life in prison and others to death for joining the terror group

A picture shows a courtroom at Baghdad's Karkh main appeals court building in the western sector of the Iraqi capital on May 29, 2019. AFP
A picture shows a courtroom at Baghdad's Karkh main appeals court building in the western sector of the Iraqi capital on May 29, 2019. AFP

Iraq on Monday sentenced an additional two French nationals to death after finding them guilty of joining ISIS.

Murad Mohammed Mustafa, 41, and Bilal Abdel Fattah, 32, joined nine other French citizens and one Tunisian handed over to Iraqi authorities earlier this year by the US-backed forces fighting the terrorists in Syria.

Thousands of Iraqi and foreign suspects are in Iraqi custody facing charges related to fighting with or supporting terror groups.

Iraqi law stipulates that a death penalty, carried out by hanging, is given to those for joining the group – even if they did not take up arms.

Although no foreign ISIS members have yet been executed, the men have 30 days to appeal the conviction.

They are the final French citizens to be tried in Iraq from the group transferred from Syria.

It comes amid French diplomatic efforts to spare its citizens from executions.

Officials in Paris are intervening at the “highest level” in the cases, French government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said.

"France's position has been constant... As soon as our citizens around the world face the possibility of a death sentence after a conviction, we intervene at the highest level of state," Ms Ndiaye told Europe 1 television.

France has insisted that it opposes in principle the capital punishment and that its adult citizens captured in Iraq or Syria must face trial before local courts.

The sentencing came amid a controversy about the legal treatment of the suspects by Iraqi authorities.

Human Rights Watch on Friday accused Iraqi interrogators of "using a range of torture techniques... which would not leave lasting marks on the person's body".

It also condemned France's "outsourcing" of trials of ISIS suspects to "abusive justice systems" and criticised Iraq's "routine failure... to credibly investigate torture allegations".

Updated: June 3, 2019 05:57 PM

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