Three of the twelve French citizens captured by US-backed fighters in Syria are the first ISIL members to receive a death sentence. The Iraqi court ruling was made last Sunday in Baghdad.
An Iraqi court sentenced Kevin Gonot, Leonard Lopez and Salim Machou to death and have 30 days to appeal. According to a court official, the three were found guilty of joining the Islamic State militant group.
Kevin Gonot, 32, was arrested in Syria with his family back in 2017.
Leonard Lopez, 32, entered Syria with his wife and 2 kids after traveling to IS-held Mosul according to French investigators.
Salim Machou, 41, is a member of an IS cell that committed attacks in Syria and Iraq according to France’s Centre d’Analyse du Terrorisme (CAT).
Nabil Boudi, the lawyer of Lopez, heavily condemned the trial calling it a “summary justice.” In an interview with AFP News Agency, the lawyer said that the court ruling was “based solely on a series of interrogations in Baghdad jails”.
Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, declined to comment on the court ruling, saying it is Iraq’s sovereign matter.
US-backed Syrian Democratic forces caught thousands of ISIL members who are now under the custody of Iraq after being repatriated from Syria.
According to the BBC, approximately 6,000 ISIL members originate from Europe.
Iraqi courts have been putting hundreds of foreigners on trial. many of whom were sentenced to life in prison or given the death penalty. As of yet, none of these foreign ISIL members have been executed.
Human rights activists claim that Iraq’s trials rely heavily on circumstantial evidence or and using torture to extract confessions from alleged ISIL members.
Amnesty International reports last April that Iraq is one of the top five nations in the world that use capital punishment.