Iraqi court sentences 2 French Daesh members to death

The sentenced are among a group of 12 French citizens detained by SDF forces in Syria. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 June 2019

Iraqi court sentences 2 French Daesh members to death

  • The new sentences raise the number of French citizens sentenced to death in Iraq to nine
  • France said they would do everything to save the sentenced from death penalty

BAGHDAD: A court in Baghdad on Sunday sentenced two French citizens to death for being members of Daesh, including one who last week said he was subjected to torture while in detention, an Iraqi judicial official said.
The sentencings in Iraq come amid controversy about the legal treatment of thousands of foreign fighters who had joined Daesh at the height of its power in Syria and Iraq, when the militant group declared its self-styled caliphate.
Human rights groups are concerned these defendants are being rushed through Iraqi counterterrorism courts in trials that raise questions over whether justice is being done. Convictions are often based on confessions that defendants and rights groups say are extracted by intimidation, torture and abuse and without due process.
The judicial official said the court sentenced to death Fadil Hamad Abdallah, 33, of Moroccan origin and Vianney Jamal Abdelqader, 29. Abdallah, who was known within the group as Abu Mariam, told the court last week that he was subjected to torture. He was then referred to a medical committee that, after examining him, said he had made false claims about torture.
The judicial official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The new sentences raise the number of French citizens given death sentences over the past two weeks to nine.
France has said it would do all it can to spare the group from execution in Iraq. Although it has made no effort to bring back the captured fighters, France has taken an outspoken stance against the death penalty worldwide.
Although European Daesh members have been sentenced to death, none have actually been executed in Iraq.
Those sentenced are among a group of 12 French citizens who were detained by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in neighboring Syria and handed over to Iraq in January.
The Kurdish-led group spearheaded the fight against Daesh in Syria and has handed hundreds of suspected Daesh members over to Iraq in recent months.
An Iraqi intelligence official told The Associated Press that the SDF handed over to Syria 1,142 Iraqi Daesh members, of which 157 were sentenced to death. He added that five other foreigners were transferred to Iraq, including two Iranians, two Tunisians and a Chinese national. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Also in Baghdad, Iraqi authorities handed over 122 Turkish children of suspected Daesh militants to Turkey’s government representatives, according to a statement by the justice ministry. Sunday’s handover came days after 188 other children were handed over to Turkish authorities.
In an interview with Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency last month, Turkey’s ambassador in Baghdad said he aimed to repatriate all children of Turkish Daesh families from Iraq ahead of Eid Al-Fitr that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and is expected to begin on Tuesday. Ambassador Fatih Yildiz also said Turkey asked Iraq to return all Turkish citizens but the process was complicated by an agreement that barred suspects with terror links from repatriation.


Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Updated 16 September 2019

Afghan, US forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

  • Joint operations planned to prevent attacks ahead of polls

KABUL: Afghan forces backed by US forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hard-line insurgent group in joint airstrikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday.

The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the US and the Taliban.

The Defense Ministry in a statement said that the Taliban’s designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an airstrike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

But the Taliban denied the governor had been killed.

“He (Nooruddin) is alive,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman said in a statement.

HIGHLIGHT

Taliban deny the governor of Samangan province had been killed.

Last week, insurgents killed four Afghan special force members in a car bomb blast.

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day.

In a separate incident, Mullah Sayed Azim, a Taliban designate governor for Anar Dara district in western Farah was killed in a joint Afghan and foreign force raid.

“Sayed Azim was killed along with 34 other insurgents in Anar Dara,” said Mohibullah Mohib, a spokesman for Farah provincial police.

Senior security officials in Kabul said several joint operations will be launched against Taliban and Daesh fighters to prevent attacks on Afghan forces and civilians ahead of the presidential polls on Sept. 28.

Fighting picked up in several parts of Afghanistan last week after US President Donald Trump’s abrupt cancelation of talks with the Taliban aimed at withdrawing US troops and opening the way to end to 18 year-long war in Afghanistan. 

 

Troops for polling day

Afghan officials say around 100,000 members of the country’s security forces are ready for polling day. Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Sunday that 72,000 security personnel will be on duty around the 4,942 polling centers across Afghanistan while nearly 30,000 additional troops will serve as reserve units.

Defense Ministry spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai said security forces have recently taken back eight districts from the Taliban and that operations are underway to secure around 20 others.