French ISIS Fighters Sentenced to Death in Iraq Complain of Inhuman Treatment

Men suspected of being Islamic State (IS) fighters wait to be searched by members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after leaving the IS group's last holdout of Baghouz, in Syria's northern Deir Ezzor province on February 22, 2019. (Photo by Bulent KILIC / AFP) (Photo credit should read …
BULENT KILIC/AFP via Getty Images

A group of French jihadists have decried their treatment in an Iraqi prison, claiming that they have been subjected to “torture” and “humiliation” before their planned executions.

Two French nationals, Brahim Nejara and Fodil Tahar Aouidate, currently awaiting execution for joining the ISIS terrorist group alongside nine other French citizens, have written to their families complaining about their treatment in the Al Rosafa prison in Baghdad.

“We are confronted with the incessant threats, verbal and physical of the militiamen who work in this prison. Some of us have been tortured and humiliated, the pressure is so strong that there are among us who have isolated themselves and started to speak alone, and that death is preferable to them to the current ordeal,” their letter read according to French newspaper Liberation.

“France does not want us and Iraq received the order to assassinate us as soon as the opportunity arises. We met with the representative of the French Embassy on December 17 and we explained our situation to him, he replied that he could do nothing for us. We ask to be transferred urgently to a secure place held by the Americans. Thank you,” the letter concluded.

Fodil Tahar Aouidate and Brahim Nejara are both suspected of being members of Islamic State, appearing in propaganda videos that celebrated the terrorist attacks in France in November of 2015, which left 90 people dead at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris. Aouidate is believed to have attempted to organise a terror attack in France in 2013 and Nejara is suspected of belonging to the same ISIS cell as some of the Bataclan terrorists.

The two men were captured in Syria by the Syrian Democratic Forces, before being moved to Iraq, where they were sentenced to death last spring. They were then transferred to Al-Rosafa prison in Baghdad, where common criminals and jihadists are housed together.

“Most of the common criminals are Shiites, and therefore hate the French who were with IS. And the other jihadists regard them as renegades who surrendered and betrayed the cause. I wonder if leaving people who hate each other in the same cell is not a way to eliminate them in the long term,” said a family member of a French ISIS fighter.

The Collectif des Familles Unies, an activist group in France that focusses on reuniting families of jihadists in Iraq and Syria, called on the French government “to intervene to put an end to all forms of inhuman and degrading treatment inflicted on prisoners and for that the death sentences be commuted”.

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