Iraq court sentences Belgian militant to death for Daesh membership

Tarik Jadaoun, top right, known by his nom de guerre Abu Hamza Al-Beljiki, sits inside a cell at a court in Baghdad. The Belgian militant was sentenced to death for membership of the Daesh group. (AFP)
Updated 22 May 2018
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Iraq court sentences Belgian militant to death for Daesh membership

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi court on Tuesday sentenced a Belgian militant, who threatened Europe in propaganda videos, to death by hanging for membership of the Daesh group, an AFP journalist reported.

Tarik Jadaoun — known by his nom de guerre Abu Hamza Al-Beljiki — earlier pleaded not guilty to a range of terror, insisting he had “got lost” and pleading for mercy.

Born in 1988, Jadaoun — who was captured in ex-Daesh bastion Mosul in August — appeared before the Baghdad court dressed in a beige prison uniform with a shaved head and bushy moustache.

The hearing lasted for less than 10 minutes, with a judge sentencing him to be “hanged until death” after Jadaoun refused to defend himself after the charges were read out.

Jadaoun, who has Moroccan roots, said during a first hearing on May 10 that he was forced by “one of the top Daesh commanders” to appear in videos threatening attacks against Belgium and France.

The footage saw Jadaoun earn the moniker “the new Abaaoud,” after his compatriot Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the organizers of November 2015 attacks in Paris.

Earlier, investigators alleged Jadaoun was in charge of the “cubs of the caliphate” — about 60 children aged eight to 13 who received intensive fitness and weapons training.

In total, Iraqi courts have sentenced to death more than 300 people, including dozens of foreigners, for belonging to Daesh, judicial sources said last month.

Since January, some 100 foreign nationals have been sentenced to death in Baghdad and around 185 to life in prison, officials said.

Thousands of foreign fighters from across the world flocked to the black banner of the militants as the group seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Their self-declared “caliphate” has since been reduced to a rump territory of desert in the east of war-torn Syria.

The fate of those who survived ferocious onslaughts by various forces against Daesh has been a major headache for their home governments, which are often against seeing them return.


Bahrain suspends visas for Qatari nationals

Updated 21 August 2018
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Bahrain suspends visas for Qatari nationals

JEDDAH: Bahrain has suspended issuing entry visas to Qatari nationals as part of the dispute between between Arab countries and Doha.

Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt launched a boycott of Qatar in June last year, accusing the country of links to terrorism.

The quartet cut off diplomatic, transport and economic ties with Qatar some trvel restrictions were placed on nationals travelling between the countries. 

"The Ministry of Interior has announced the suspension of the issuance of entry visas for Qatari nationals,” the Bahrain News Agency reported.

Qatari students who study in Bahrain will be excluded, along with those with valid visas, the ministry said.

The statement said the decision was not taken because of Qatari nationals “who share brotherly ties with Bahrainis, but as result of irresponsible acts of Qatari authorities that do not consider the rights of neighbouring countries or the principles of the international law,” the ministry said.