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

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.


UN adopts new voting procedure during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated 24 min 37 sec ago

UN adopts new voting procedure during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Ambassadors from the 193 U.N. member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue during spaced-out time slots
  • The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 elected members

UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. General Assembly adopted a new voting procedure Friday for the upcoming election of new members of the Security Council aimed at preventing a large gathering and ensuring social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of meeting in the horseshoe-shaped assembly chamber at U.N. headquarters overlooking New York’s East River, ambassadors from the 193 U.N. member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue during spaced-out time slots.
And they will be voting not only for five non-permanent members of the Security Council to serve two-year terms but for 18 new members of the 54-nation Economic and Social Council to serve three-year terms.
According to the new procedure, the president of the General Assembly will send a letter to all member states at least 10 working days before the first round of secret balloting for the two elections to inform them of the date, venue where ballots should be cast, and other relevant information.
The Security Council election had been scheduled for June 17, but it’s unclear whether that will remain the date.
The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. Five countries are elected every year.
The council is the U.N.’s most powerful body and winning a seat is a pinnacle of achievement for many countries because it gives them a strong voice on issues of international peace and security ranging from conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran, and attacks by extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
This year seven countries are vying for five seats, and there are two hotly contested races.
In the group of Western nation, Canada, Ireland and Norway are battling for two seats, and in Africa, Kenya and Djibouti are competing for one seat. India is running unopposed for the Asia-Pacific seat and Mexico is running unopposed for the seat for Latin America and the Caribbean.