Iraq has sentenced two more French ISIL members to death and their execution is expected within three days.
Tuesday’s ruling brings the total number of French former members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) to six.
The men – identified as Karam el-Harchaoui and Brahim Nejara, both in their 30s – are among a group of 12 French citizens who were captured by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in neighbouring Syria and handed over to Iraq in January.
Four other French ISIL members – identified as Mustapha Merzoughi, Kevin Gonot, Leonard Lopez and Salim Machou – were sentenced to death on Sunday and Monday.
Iraqi courts have placed on trial hundreds of foreigners, condemning many to life in prison and others to death, although foreign ISIL members have not yet been executed.
The trials have been criticised by rights groups, which say they often rely on evidence obtained through torture.
They have also raised the question of whether suspected ISIL fighters should be tried in the region or repatriated, in the face of strong public opposition at home.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said earlier on Tuesday that his government was working to spare the group of condemned Frenchmen from execution after Iraq sentenced them to death, though France has made no effort to bring back the captured ISIL fighters.
Drian also reiterated France’s position but said the ISIL members should be tried where they committed their crimes.
“We are multiplying efforts to avoid the death penalty for these … French people,” he said on France Inter radio.
He did not elaborate, but said he spoke to Iraq’s president about the case.
France is outspoken against the death penalty globally. The sentencings in Iraq come amid a controversy about the legal treatment of thousands of foreign fighters who joined ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
SDF, a Kurdish–led military alliance, spearheaded the fight against ISIL in Syria and has handed over to Iraq hundreds of suspected ISIL members in recent months.