Iraq’s judiciary has denied striking a deal with Paris to commute the death sentences of French nationals convicted in Baghdad for belonging to the Islamic State group.
In remarks, Abdalsattar Bayraqdar, spokesman for Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, said only an appeals court — not a bilateral agreement — can change their sentences. He also added that the sentences issued by Iraqi courts can only be reviewed by the court of cassation — which has the prerogative under the law to reaffirm the sentence or alter it depending on the circumstances of each crime — and not through deals between countries.
Recently, a Baghdad court issued death sentences for 11 Frenchmen transferred to Iraqi custody from neighbouring Syria, where they were caught fighting for ISIS. The 11 sentences are still not final.
According to Iraqi law, defendants have 30 days to appeal any sentence and for those facing the gallows, the appeal is automatically referred to the cassation court.
Iraqi courts have convicted more than 500 foreign nationals for ISIS membership since 2018, most of them captured on Iraqi territory.