ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A United Nations investigator on Monday criticized France over its alleged involvement in the transfer of seven French Islamic State militants from Syria to Iraq where they face the death penalty after alleged torture and unfair trials.
Agnes Callamard, the UN extrajudicial executions investigator, said Syrian Kurdish forces arrested the French nationals in February and claimed Paris had a role in their transfer to Iraq, Reuters reported.
After reports emerged of the Islamic State prisoners being tortured in Iraqi jails before they were handed the death penalty, Callamard urged the French government to repatriate them to France where they could receive a “fair trial.”
“I am particularly disturbed by allegations that France may have had a role in this transfer, given the risk involved of torture and unfair trials and that they would likely face the death penalty,” she said in a statement.
France’s Foreign Ministry responded with their own statement, rejecting Callamard’s accusations, describing them as “pure speculation” and “hers only.”
“Iraqi authorities know France is against the death penalty, everywhere and in all circumstances, and has asked for the sentences not to be executed,” the Ministry added.
Iraqi courts have put on trial hundreds of foreign Islamic State members, sentencing many to life in prison and others to death. In recent months, Baghdad condemned 11 French nationals to death for their role in the terror group.
Human rights groups have criticized inconsistencies in the judicial process in Iraq and the prominence of flawed trials.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on nations not to rely on Iraq after some of the French nationals claimed in court that Iraqi officials had tortured them.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany