Iraq sentences all 11 French Daesh members to death

French nationals (from top left to bottom right) Vianney Ouraghi, Salim Machou, Mustapha Merzoughi, Brahim Nejara, Fodil Tahar Aouidate, Kevin Gonot, Yassine Sakkam and Leonard Lopez, all sentenced by a Baghdad court to death for joining Daesh. (AFP)
Updated 03 June 2019
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Iraq sentences all 11 French Daesh members to death

  • Iraq has sentenced more than 500 suspected foreign members of Daesh since the start of 2018
  • Iraqi law provides for the death penalty, which is carried out by hanging, for anyone joining a “terrorist group”

BAGHDAD: A Baghdad court Monday sentenced to death two more French nationals for belonging to Daesh, leaving all 11 Frenchmen transferred from Syria facing the gallows in Iraq.
Bilel Kabaoui, 32, and Mourad Delhomme, 41, join nine other French citizens and a Tunisian national already on death row after trials over the past week. They have 30 days to appeal the sentences.
Iraq has sentenced more than 500 suspected foreign members of Daesh since the start of 2018.
Its courts have condemned many to life in prison and others to death, although no foreign Daesh members have yet been executed.
Iraqi law provides for the death penalty, which is carried out by hanging, for anyone joining a “terrorist group” — even those who did not take up arms.
A group of prominent French lawyers said earlier Monday that the execution of French militants on death row would be a disgrace for France.
“We have taken a historic risk, which, if it is realized, will leave an indelible stain on the mandate of (President) Emmanuel Macron,” said the lawyers, including some of the country’s best known legal professionals such as William Bourdon, Henri Leclerc and Vincent Brengarth.
It would mean allowing a “legal assassination which is now proscribed by the majority of countries on the planet,” said the open letter, published on the website of radio station Franceinfo.
Human Rights Watch, for its part, has accused Iraqi interrogators of “using a range of torture techniques... which would not leave lasting marks on the person’s body.”
It also condemned France’s “outsourcing” of trials of Daesh suspects to “abusive justice systems” and criticized Iraq’s “routine failure... to credibly investigate torture allegations.”
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.
French government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye reiterated Sunday that officials were intervening “at the highest level” in the cases.
“France’s position has been constant... As soon as our citizens around the world face the possibility of a death sentence after a conviction, we intervene at the highest level of state,” Ndiaye told Europe 1 television.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.