A Baghdad court sentenced two more Frenchmen to death yesterday for joining the Islamic State jihadist group, raising the number of French IS members on death row in Iraq to six.
Brahim Nejara and Karam El Harchaoui, both in their 30s, were among 12 French citizens transferred to Iraqi authorities in January by a US-backed force fighting the jihadist group in Syria.
The court’s ruling came despite France reiterating its opposition to capital punishment after a series of similar rulings this week against French citizens handed over to Baghdad.
In recent months, Iraq has taken custody of thousands of jihadists, including foreigners, captured in neighbouring Syria by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during the battle to destroy the IS “caliphate”.
Four other French citizens -- Kevin Gonot, Leonard Lopez, Salim Machou and Mustapha Merzoughi -- have been given death sentences in recent days by a Baghdad court.
Nejara, 33, was involved in IS’s foreign fighter operations, according to the French Terrorism Analysis Center.
He allegedly helped foreign fighters join IS in Syria, persuaded one of his brothers to commit an attack in France, and was associated with Foued Mohamed-Aggad, one of the suicide bombers at the Bataclan theatre during the 2015 Paris attacks.