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France Ups Efforts to Avoid Execution of French ISIS Convicts in Iraq

France Ups Efforts to Avoid Execution of French ISIS Convicts in Iraq

Tuesday, 28 May, 2019 - 09:30
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. (AFP)

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced Tuesday that Paris was intensifying its efforts to stop the execution of four French citizens in Iraq after they were convicted and sentenced to death for fighting for the ISIS terrorist group.

"We are increasing the steps to avoid the death penalty for these four French citizens," he told France Inter radio.

"We are opposed to the death penalty," he added.

An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced three French nationals to death for joining the terror group, the first ISIS members from France to be sentenced to capital punishment.

On Monday, a fourth French citizen was also condemned to death in Baghdad.

The four have 30 days to appeal.

Two more French members of ISIS were sentenced to death by Iraq on Tuesday.

The men were identified as Karam El-Harchaoui and Brahim Nejara. They are among a group of 12 French citizens who were detained by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in neighboring Syria and handed over to Iraq in January.

In recent months, Iraq has taken custody of thousands of extremists, including foreigners, captured by the SDF.

France has long insisted that its adult citizens captured in Iraq or Syria must face trial locally, refusing to repatriate them despite the risk they face capital punishment for waging their extremist war in the region.

Le Drian reaffirmed France's refusal to accept any repatriations of its nationals affiliated with ISIS.

"These terrorists -- because they are terrorists -- who attacked us, who also caused death in Iraq, must be judged where they committed their crimes," he said.

The Iraqi judiciary said earlier in May that it has tried and sentenced more than 500 suspected foreign members of ISIS since the start of 2018.

Its courts have condemned many to life in prison and others to death, although no foreign ISIS members have yet been executed.

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