ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – France is opposed, in principle, to the execution of its citizens but accepts Iraqi sovereignty as Iraq’s judiciary sentenced three French members of the Islamic State to death, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.
“The French embassy in Iraq, in its role as a provider of consular protection, is taking the necessary steps to convey its position [against the death penalty] to the Iraqi authorities,” the foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by Reuters.
The ministry added that it respected the sovereignty of Iraq’s authorities and that Islamic State members “had to answer for their crimes,” which carry the death penalty in the country.
The statement came one day after the Iraqi Criminal Court in Baghdad’s Karkh district on Sunday sentenced three French nationals to death for their adherence to the terrorist organization.
The three men fought alongside the Islamic State against Iraqi forces during the military campaign to liberate Mosul, a source from the Iraqi judiciary told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday.
“They are not prominent members of Da’esh [ISIS], but they are well-trained fighters,” the source added.
The death sentence was handed down in accordance with the provisions of Article IV / 1 of the Anti-Terrorism Law No. 13.
Their names are Kevin Gonot, Leonard Lopez, and Salim Machou, according to AFP. They have 30 days to appeal the court’s decision.
The three are among 12 French Islamic State members who were arrested by the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria and transferred to Iraqi custody earlier this year.
Iraqi courts have put on trial hundreds of foreigners, sentencing many to life in prison and others to death. No foreign Islamic State member, however, has yet been executed.
Editing by Nadia Riva