France would intervene if French jihadist faced death penalty in Iraq or Syria - minister

French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet delivers her New Year wishes and the guidelines for justice reform during a news conference in Paris, France January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - France would intervene if a French jihadist were condemned to death in Iraq or Syria, the country's justice minister Nicole Belloubet said on Sunday.

The possibility of such an event has arisen after an Iraqi court this month sentenced to death a German woman of Moroccan origin for membership of Islamic State.

The European Union has a long-standing policy against capital punishment and all member nations have abandoned the practice.

Asked in a television interview on Sunday about how France would react if a French jihadist were condemned to death, Belloubet said: "The French state would intervene, by negotiating with the other state in question."

Any such negotiations could involve requests for extradition, though Belloubet emphasised that these situations would be considered case by case.

French public prosecutor Francois Molins said this month that an estimated 676 French nationals, including 295 women, were in the Iraq-Syria region.

France remains on high alert after suffering a wave of attacks commissioned or inspired by Islamic State militants in 2015 and 2016, which killed more than 200 people.


(Reporting by Sophie Louet; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by David Goodman)