Iraq condemns eighth French Daesh member to death

Men walk out of Baghdad's Karkh main appeals court building in the western sector of the Iraqi capital on May 29, 2019 where French militants accused of belonging to tDaesh are being tried. (AFP)
Updated 02 June 2019
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Iraq condemns eighth French Daesh member to death

  • 11 French citizens and a Tunisian handed over to Iraqi authorities early this year by a US-backed force in Syria
  • France has long insisted its adult citizens captured in Iraq or Syria must face trial before local courts

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi court on Sunday sentenced to death an eighth Frenchman for joining the Daesh group, rejecting his claims he was tortured into confessing.
Fodil Tahar Aouidate, 32, first appeared in court on May 27 but a judge delayed his trial to allow for a medical examination.
“The medical report shows that there are no signs of torture on his body,” the judge told the court.
Aouidate showed no reaction when the judge handed down his death sentence, according to an AFP journalist at the trial.
He was one of 11 French citizens and a Tunisian handed over to Iraqi authorities early this year by a US-backed force in Syria which expelled the militant group from its last bastion.
A Baghdad court had already handed capital punishments to seven of the French militant and the Tunisian over the past week and Aouidate will now join them on death row.
Interrogated for four months, Aouidate alleged he was beaten to “confess” to the charges levelled against him.
During his first hearing he showed marks on his back to the judge, who requested a medical examination and report.
Human Rights Watch on Friday accused Iraqi interrogators of “using a range of torture techniques” and condemned France’s “outsourcing” of trials of Daesh suspects to “abusive justice systems.”
France has long insisted its adult citizens captured in Iraq or Syria must face trial before local courts, while stressing its opposition to capital punishment.
Iraqi law provides for the death penalty for anyone joining a “terrorist group” — even those who did not take up arms.
Aouidate first went to Syria in 2013 and returned in 2014 with 22 members of his family to join Daesh, according to the French judiciary.
Authorities also linked him to Belgium’s Salafist movement including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the presumed mastermind of the 2015 Paris attacks.
France convicted two of Aouidate’s sisters for “financing terrorism” for sending 15,000 euros to relatives in Syria.


Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Updated 23 min 41 sec ago
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Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

  • The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh
  • This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory”

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s military said Saturday its troops in partnership with security agencies and paramilitary forces launched the second phase of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of the Daesh group from north of Baghdad and surrounding areas.
This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two weeks earlier and targeted the area along the border with Syria. The military said the new target area is north of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Although Iraq declared victory against Daesh in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and continue to carry out deadly attacks in the country.
The military said Iraqi troops, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the federal police and others are taking part in the operation supported by the Iraqis and the U.S-led international coalition.
On Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi visited the operation room alongside the deputy head of the PMF, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi government moved to place the Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces. The move was believed to be an attempt to curb the powerful militias, particularly amid rising tension between Iran and the US, the power brokers in Iraq.
The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh and are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament.