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France’s top rated diplomat held talks in Baghdad on Thursday on transferring foreign jihadists from northern Syria for trial in Iraq soon after a Turkish offensive triggered fears of mass jailbreaks.
European governments are worried that the Turkish operation against Kurdish militants will permit the escape of some of the 12,000 suspected Islamic State (IS) group fighters — such as thousands of foreigners — held by Syrian Kurds.
The problem was top rated of the agenda for French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in his talks with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed Ali al-Hakim, President Barham Saleh and Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi.
Le Drian stated he had discussed with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad and Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish area, “the way to implement an proper judicial mechanism” to attempt French and other fighters “in the very best circumstances”.
The aim is for foreign jihadists to be attempted in Iraqi courts although upholding particular principles of justice and respect for human rights, a French diplomatic supply stated.
Rights groups have raised fears that detainees in Iraq danger torture and have no assure of a fair trial.
European nations oppose the death penalty, but Iraq has currently condemned various hundred suspected jihadists to death — while none of these sentences have been carried out.
Iraq’s foreign minister Hakim also referred to as for “cooperation to place on trial and bring to justice foreign fighters” but his workplace issued a statement later saying Iraq does not want “on its soil foreign terrorists who carried out attacks outdoors of Iraq”.
A French supply stated the discussions involving Iraqi and French officials failed to attain an agreement.
A group of European nations sent officials on a technical mission to Baghdad this week to assess the circumstance.
“There are talks involving the Americans, the British, French and Iraqis about funding the building of prisons,” Hisham al-Hashemi, an Iraqi specialist on IS, told AFP.
Le Drian urged the international coalition against IS to confront the “new dangers produced by the Turkish intervention in northeast Syria and the danger of an IS resurgence.”
Hundreds of foreigners have been sentenced to death or life imprisonment in Iraq for belonging to IS.
Fourteen French jihadists — such as 12 transferred from Syria by US-backed Kurdish forces — have been attempted in Baghdad and accused of alleged membership of the IS jihadist group.
Of the total 11 have been sentenced to death, although the other 3, such as two ladies, have been offered life sentences.
In April, Iraq provided to attempt foreign IS suspects in exchange for operational fees.
A single Iraqi official stated Baghdad had requested $two billion to place the suspects on trial.
Turkey on Monday accused Kurdish forces of deliberately releasing IS prisoners held at a prison in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad “in an try to fuel chaos in the location”.
Kurdish officials claimed that Turkish bombardments had permitted practically 800 relatives of foreign IS fighters to escape from a camp for the displaced.
According to the Kurdish administration, there are about 12,000 suspected IS fighters in the custody of Kurdish safety forces across northeastern Syria.
At least two,500 of them are non-Iraqi foreigners of much more than 50 distinctive nationalities. Tunisia is believed to have the largest contingent.
Officials in Paris say 60 to 70 French nationals are amongst these held.
The rest are about four,000 Syrians and roughly the identical quantity of Iraqis.
The fighters, who have been detained largely in the course of operations led by Kurdish forces and backed by the US-led coalition against IS, are detained in at least seven facilities.
Western governments such as France have been reluctant to take them back, for lack of a clear legal framework and worry of a public backlash.