FILE – in this Thursday, April 26, 2018 file photo, relatives wait outside Nineveh Criminal Court, one of two counterterrorism courts in Iraq where suspected Islamic State militants and their associates are tried, in Tel Keif, Iraq. A Baghdad court sentenced to death three French citizens Sunday for being members of the Islamic State group, an Iraqi judicial official said. The official said the three were among 12 French citizens handed over to Iraq in January by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Then SDF has handed over to Iraq hundreds of suspected IS members in recent months. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

PARIS – France's foreign minister says his government is working to spare four French former members of the Islamic State group from execution after Iraq sentenced them to death.

However, France has made no effort to bring back captured French IS fighters, including the four sentenced this week.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reiterated France's position on Tuesday, saying the four terrorists should be tried where they committed their crimes.

But he said on France-Inter radio that "we are multiplying efforts to avoid the death penalty for these four French people."

He didn't elaborate, but said he spoke to Iraq's president about the case. France is outspoken against the death penalty globally.

There's been controversy about the legal treatment of thousands of foreign fighters who joined IS in Syria and Iraq.

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