Alwaght- Two more French nationals were sentenced to death for joining the ISIS terrorist group and involvement in acts of terror across the conflict-ridden Iraq and neighboring Syria.
The pair sentenced to death on Sunday by an Iraqi court was identified as Fodil Tahar Aouidate and Vianney Ouraghi. They are among a group of 11 French citizens and one Tunisian, who were captured by US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria and handed over to Iraq in January. The latest death sentences bring the total number of French terrorists condemned to death over the past few weeks to nine.
Aouidate first appeared in court on May 27, but a judge postponed his trial and ordered a medical examination after the 32-year-old violent extremist alleged he had been tortured into confession.
“The medical report shows that there are no signs of torture on his body,” the judge told the court before handing down his death penalty.
Aouidate appeared unmoved when the judge passed the ruling.
He first went to Syria in 2013 and returned in 2014 with 22 members of his family to join ISIS.
Ouraghi, who has Algerian roots, left France for Syria in 2013, and joined the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, there before switching to ISIS when the terror outfit declared its “caliphate” in 2014.
Iraq has been trying hundreds of suspected ISIS members, many of whom were detained as the outfit’s strongholds crumbled throughout Iraq. This includes hundreds of foreigners.
Hundreds of European nationals traveled to the West Asia to join ISIS after the terror group captured large swathes of territory in Iraq and neighboring Syria in mid-2014.
On May 29, French rights ombudsman criticized Paris for the “inhumane treatment” of children of terrorists stranded in Syria.
“The French state needs to adopt effective measures allowing the halt to the inhumane and degrading treatment of children and their mothers and put an end to the violations of the rights of the child,” France's Human Rights Defender Jacques Toubon said in a statement.
Toubon added that France was flouting its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the Western European country is a signatory.
According to the French Foreign Ministry, some 450 French citizens linked to ISIS are either detained by Kurdish forces in northern Syria, or being held in refugee camps.
But France is reluctant to bring back the militants or their families in the wake of a string of terrorist attacks that have claimed the lives of more than 250 people since 2015.
Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against ISIS in the country on December 9, 2017.
On July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in Iraq.
In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.