…As Dozens of French lawyers denounce jihadist death sentences in Iraq***
Not fewer than 14 people, among them five children, were killed on Monday when a van rammed into a lorry in south-western Pakistan, an official said.
The accident, in which six other people were injured, took place near Qila Saifullah district in the province of Balochistan.
“At least 14 people including a woman and five children were killed in the accident,’’ Waqas Ahmad Khilji, a police official from Qila Saifullah, said.
Local media reported that five members of one family were among the dead.
Khilji said that the cause of the accident was not yet known.
Road accidents are common in Pakistan due to a lack of adequate infrastructure, poorly maintained vehicles and careless driving.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, around 9,000 road accidents are reported every year, killing around 4,000 people.
In the meantime, over 40 French lawyers denounced the recent death sentences passed against French jihadists in Iraq in a column published online on Monday by public broadcaster FranceInfo.
Nine French citizens have been sentenced to death for joining the Islamic State extremist group.
They were reportedly among a group of jihadist prisoners handed over to Iraqi authorities by Kurdish-led forces in Syria who are allied to France and the United States.
France had been “trapped’’ by its refusal to repatriate French jihadist fighters and its insistence they should be judged where they committed their crimes, the lawyers, including several prominent members of the French legal profession, wrote.
“We have taken a historic risk which, if it is realised, will leave an indelible stain on the mandate of (President) Emmanuel Macron,’’ they added.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said Paris is asking Baghdad not to carry out the death sentences, but he also insists the men had fair trials.
Rights groups have repeatedly criticised the conduct of terrorism trials in Iraq.
Human Rights Watch reported that two of the French citizens being tried claimed they had been tortured or coerced to confess.