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Tuesday 20th March 2018

French Effort to Stop Death Penalty for Three French Isis Members in Iraq


7Dnews London

Mon, 27 May 2019 09:19 GMT

The French government said on May 27th, that it would take "the necessary steps" to try to prevent Iraq from carrying out the death penalty against three French citizens convicted of fighting alongside Isis. The foreign ministry said in a statement after the three Isis members were sentenced on May 26th, "France is opposed in principle to the death penalty at all times and in all places," according to AFP.

The statement said the detained men were receiving consular assistance to ensure they had legal representation ahead of an expected appeal against the ruling, which they must lodge within 30 days. It added, however, that France, "respects the sovereignty of Iraq's institutions." 

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 of capital punishment for waging their war in the region on the side of Isis. The three French fighters, Kevin Gonot, Leonard Lopez and Salim Machou, were transferred to Iraq for trial after being caught by US-backed forces in Syria. They were among 13 French nationals arrested in battle-scarred eastern Syria and handed over to Iraqi authorities in February on suspicion of being members of Isis's feared contingent of foreign fighters.

Iraq has taken custody of thousands of extremists and the Iraqi judiciary said recently that it had tried and sentenced more than 500 suspected foreign members of Isis since the start of 2018. 

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