This week, seven French citizens were put before an Iraqi judge for committing an unpardonable offense, that is, affiliation with Islamic State.
Each offender confessed rendering services to the militant group, such as working as tax-collection agent, Arabic teacher, military instructor, medical attendant and armed fighter. None of them could present a proof of not committing any violent crime, while majority of them did not see a lawyer before appearing for a trail.
Despite that, following seven trials spanning across four days, Iraqi Judge Ahmed Mohamed Ali sentenced them all to death by hanging.
These citizens of France were among 4,000 foreigners arrested in Syria and Iraq during the weed-out operation of ISIS. But now that they regret being part of the ISIS offensive, their home countries have revoked their citizenship and refused to take them back.
These trials have put the French authorities in dilemma whether Iraq’s court could even meet the international standards for a fair trial, in the wake of battle against the Islamic State.
For over 12 cases that were brought to the court-room, a country like France that claims to be a champion of human rights and opposer of the death sentence, certainly handed over the judicial proceeding to Iraq.
“The penalty will be a death sentence, whether they fought in the war or not,” Iraqi Judge Ali affirmed during an interview. He also convicted an eighth defendant, a Tunisian-French resident, and gave him a death penalty too.
French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, confirmed that over 450 French citizens, who joined the Islamic State, were detained in camps in Syria. However, with misery after the terrorist attacks in Paris (2015), Nice (2016) and Trebes (2018), the French people strongly oppose the return of civilians-turned-terrorists back in their country, even if they were subjected to a life imprisonment.