Iraq has told the US-led coalition that it will put hundreds of accused foreign jihadists on trial in Baghdad in exchange for millions of dollars, three government sources have told AFP.
There has been fierce public debate in Western countries over whether to repatriate citizens who joined ISIS, which held swathes of Iraq and Syria for years before losing its last bastion last month.
Around 1,000 suspected foreign ISIS fighters are being held in northeast Syria, in addition to around 9,000 foreign women and children in Kurdish-run camps there.
Iraq has proposed trying and sentencing the foreign suspects if the US-led coalition covers operational costs, three Iraqi officials have said.
“These countries have a problem, here’s a solution,” one told AFP, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to give details to the press.
The source said Iraq had proposed a rate of $2 million per suspect per year, calculated based on the estimated operational costs of a detainee in US-run Guantanamo.
“We made the proposal last week but have not gotten a response yet,” the source added.
A second official said Iraq had requested $2 billion to try the suspects as “one of several options,” and could ask for “more money to cover the costs of their detention.”
Iraq has already tried and sentenced several hundred foreign ISIS members, and others are in detention in Baghdad awaiting trial.
They include at least 12 French nationals who were transferred from Syria in February.
A third Iraqi official said detainees from as many as 52 countries could be put on trial in Baghdad.
“Iraq proposed to the coalition setting up a special tribunal to try foreigners. There’s been a constructive beginning to those discussions,” the source said.
– with reporting by Agence France-Presse