Iraq offers to try all Daesh foreigners for a fee

Iraq has offered the US-led coalition to put hundreds of accused foreign militants on trial in Baghdad in exchange for millions of dollars. (AP/File)
Updated 11 April 2019

Iraq offers to try all Daesh foreigners for a fee

  • Iraq has proposed trying and sentencing the foreign suspects if the US-led coalition covers operational costs

BAGHDAD: Iraq has offered the US-led coalition to put hundreds of accused foreign militants on trial in Baghdad in exchange for millions of dollars, three government sources have told AFP.

Western countries have been rocked by fierce public debate over whether to repatriate their citizens who joined Daesh, which held swathes of Iraq and Syria for years before losing its last speck of land last month.

Around 1,000 suspected foreign Daesh militants are in detention in northeast Syria, in addition to around 9,000 foreign women and children in Kurdish-run camps there. Iraq has proposed trying and sentencing the foreign suspects if the US-led coalition covers operational costs, three Iraqi officials have said.

“These countries have a problem, here’s a solution,” one told AFP, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to give details to the press. The source said Iraq had proposed a rate of $2 million per suspect per year, calculated based on the estimated operational costs of a detainee in US-run Guantanamo.

“We made the proposal last week but have not gotten a response yet,” the source added.

A second official said Iraq had requested $2 billion to try the suspects as “one of several options,” and could ask for “more money to cover the costs of their detention.”

Iraq has already tried and sentenced several hundred foreign Daesh members, and others are in detention in Baghdad awaiting trial.

They include at least 12 French nationals who were transferred from Syria in February. A third Iraqi official said detainees from as many as 52 countries could be put on trial in Baghdad.

“Iraq proposed to the coalition setting up a special tribunal to try foreigners. There’s been a constructive beginning to those discussions,” the source said.

But setting up the court could be complicated, the official said, with questions over whether international funding for it would preclude any implementation of the death penalty.

The source added that Iraq had opted to propose the arrangement to the US-led coalition as a whole because it was simpler than negotiating with each country individually.

The US-led coalition did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.

Syria’s Kurds have called for an international court in northeast Syria to try Daesh militants, but the US says countries should repatriate their own citizens.

Transferring foreign fighters to Iraq for trial appears to resolve a legal conundrum for Western powers, many of whom fear they may not have enough evidence to convict Daesh members who claim they did not fight.


Banks in Lebanon reopen amid security increase

Updated 19 November 2019

Banks in Lebanon reopen amid security increase

  • Two security guards will be placed in front of each bank, and security patrols will be conducted in cities

BEIRUT: Banks in Lebanon will reopen on Tuesday after the Association of Banks in Lebanon approved measures to ease the anger of depositors and customers. 

More than 3,000 members of Beirut’s police, the regional gendarmerie, the judicial police, and the information division of the Internal Security Forces will provide protection to banks and their employees, who carried out an open strike for a week.

They did so due to customers’ anger over measures applied by banks on withdrawals and transfers amid Lebanon’s severe political and economic crisis, which sparked mass protests that have been ongoing for 33 days.

Two security guards will be placed in front of each bank, and security patrols will be conducted in cities.

The Association of Banks in Lebanon decided on Sunday to “stop restrictions on new funds transferred from abroad, provided that remittances abroad only cover urgent personal expenses.”

It also decided to lift restrictions on the circulation of checks, transfers, and the use of credit cards in Lebanon. 

As for the use of credit cards abroad, ceilings are determined by agreements between banks and customers.

The association has determined a maximum cash withdrawal rate of $1,000 per week for holders of current accounts in dollars, while checks issued in foreign currencies will be transferred into their account.

It has also urged customers to “use their credit cards, especially in Lebanese pounds, to buy their needs.”

Meanwhile, protesters are preparing to block roads leading to Parliament in the heart of Beirut on Tuesday, to prevent a legislative session from taking place. The session had already been postponed for a week.

In an attempt to placate protesters, the presidential palace’s media office said the president has ordered investigations into “financial crimes, waste, forgery, money laundering and suspicious transactions,” as well as “negligence at work, promotion of counterfeit medicines and suspicious reconciliation contracts.”