09 June 2019 :
Iraq is reportedly demanding money from France in return for commuting death sentences passed on 11 French jihadists to life imprisonment, according to the conservative newspaper Le Figaro.
France is unwilling to repatriate jihadists from Syria or Iraq, but it opposed the death penalty. It has said its adult citizens should be tried locally.
About another 120 other French citizens are awaiting trial in Iraq.
Le Figaro says the Iraqi government is demanding $1 million (£785,000) for each foreign jihadist transferred from Syria and sentenced to death, and $2 million (£1.57 million) each for those whose sentences are commuted to life imprisonment.
The paper quotes an Iraqi source as saying Adil Abdul-Mahdi, the Iraqi prime minister, made the request when he met President Emmanuel Macron last month.
The Elysée Palace and the Iraqi embassy in Paris deny the claim. “Neither Adil Abdul-Mahdi nor Barham Salih [Iraq’s president] made such a request to France,” a spokesman for Mr Macron’s office said.
However, Le Figaro quotes its source as saying Iraq plans to ask for up €270 million (£240 million) for trying and imprisoning French jihadists, “not a large sum if you consider the political and social cost of the return of all the jihadists to France”.