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Islamic State

France's Le Drian seeks plan for jihadist trials in Iraq

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is hosted by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in Baghdad on 17 October, 2019.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is hosted by Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi in Baghdad on 17 October, 2019. Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/Handout via REUTERS

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian held talks in Baghdad Thursday to discuss transferring foreign Islamic State fighters from Syria to Iraq – where they would stand trial.

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European countries want to move thousands of foreign militants out of prison camps in Syria, where a Turkish offensive has spurred fears that some of the 12,000 suspected jihadists will escape detention.

Le Drian said he and Iraqi leaders discussed the implementation of an “appropriate judicial mechanism" to try French and other fighters currently being held by Syrian Kurds.

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One sticking point will be Iraq's use of the death penalty, which is banned in the EU. Earlier this year, 11 French jihadists handed to Iraqi authorities were sentenced to death by a court in Baghdad.

The Iraqi government is seeking millions of dollars in financial compensation for taking European fighters.

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