ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The number of French nationals condemned to death in Iraq rose to six after an Iraqi court on Tuesday sentenced two more French members of the so-called Islamic State to death.
The two men were identified as Karam Salam Mohammed El-Harchaoui and Brahim Ali Mansour Nejara, who had been involved in recruiting Europeans to join the Islamic State and encouraging others to carry out attacks in France.
France’s Foreign Ministry has said it is opposed, in principle, to the execution of its citizens but accepts Iraqi sovereignty.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reiterated Paris’ position on Tuesday, underlining his country’s position that members of the terror group should be tried where they committed their crimes.
“We are multiplying efforts to avoid the death penalty for these…French people,” he said on France-Inter radio, according to the Associated Press.
On Sunday, the Iraqi Criminal Court in Baghdad’s Karkh district sentenced the first three of the six French nationals to death for being members of the Islamic State. A day later, on Monday, another one was handed the death penalty.
The six 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 hundreds of foreigners on trial for connections with the extremist group, sentencing many to life in prison and others to death. No foreign Islamic State member, however, has yet been executed.
Human rights groups have criticized chronic flaws in the judicial process in Iraq and continued unfair trials in which either no evidence has been submitted or where credible claims have been made that torture was used to coerce confessions.
The Islamic State emerged in Iraq in 2014 and quickly occupied vast swaths of territory in the country. In late 2017, Iraq declared final victory against the terrorist organization, but the Islamic State continues to launch insurgent attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings across the country.
Editing by John J. Catherine