An Iraqi court has sentenced to death an eighth Frenchman for joining the Islamic State group, rejecting his claims he was tortured into confessing. Fodil Tahar Aouidate, 32, first appeared in court on May 27 but a judge delayed his trial to allow for a medical examination.
'The medical report shows that there are no signs of torture,' the judge told the court. Aouidate showed no reaction when the judge handed down the sentence, according to a journalist at the trial.
He was one of 11 French citizens and a Tunisian handed over to Iraqi authorities early this year by a US-backed force in Syria which expelled the jihadist group from its last bastion.
A Baghdad court had already handed capital punishments to seven of the French jihadists and the Tunisian over the past week and Aouidate will now join them on the death row.
Interrogated for four months, Aouidate alleged he was beaten to 'confess' to the charges levelled against him.During his first hearing he showed marks on his back to the judge, who requested a medical examination and report.
The Human Rights Watch has accused Iraqi interrogators of 'using a range of torture techniques' and condemned France's 'outsourcing' of trials of IS suspects to 'abusive justice systems'. France has long insisted its adult citizens captured in Iraq or Syria must face trial before local courts, while stressing its opposition to capital punishment.
Iraqi law provides for the death penalty for anyone joining a 'terrorist group', even those who did not take up arms.Aouidate first went to Syria in 2013 and returned in 2014 with 22 members of his family to join IS, according to the French judiciary.
Authorities also linked him to Belgium's Salafist movement, including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the presumed mastermind of the 2015 Paris attacks. France convicted two of Aouidate's sisters for 'financing terrorism' for sending 15,000 euros to relatives in Syria.