Iraqi court sentences three French IS members to death

Iraqi court sentences three French IS members to death

An Iraqi court sentenced three French nationals to death on Sunday, after finding them guilty of joining Islamic State (IS).

Thousands of suspected IS members are being tried in Iraqi courts, including hundreds of foreigners arrested as the militant organisation’s strongholds collapse throughout the country.

Kévin Gonot, Léonard Lopez and Salim Machou were extradited to Iraq in February and were among the 14 French nationals included in a group of 280 detainees handed over by the Syrian Democratic Forces.

“They were sentenced to execution after it was proven that they were members of the terrorist Islamic State organisation,” an unnamed court official said.

Proceedings against the 14 French nationals suspected of being IS members began in March.

“All three convicted Frenchmen rejected the ruling and asked to be tried in France, but judges ignored their request,” said a court-appointed lawyer.

The convictions are likely to be appealed, and the trials of suspected IS fighters in Iraq have been criticised for relying too heavily on circumstantial evidence and confessions obtained under duress.

Mr Lopez’ lawyer, Nabil Boudi, said the trial was “summary justice” and that the death sentence had been “based solely on a series of interrogations in Baghdad jails”.

The French Government has consistently stated that it will not take back IS fighters and their wives, with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian calling them “enemies” of France who should face justice in Syria or Iraq, but the Government has declined to comment on Sunday’s death sentences.

French authorities have repatriated a handful of children, and intend to continue on a case-by-case basis.

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