Iraqi refugee held in France on suspicion of Daesh ‘war crimes’

An Iraqi man cries over body-bags containing the remains of people believed to have been slain by Daesh at the Speicher camp in Tikrit, Iraq. An Iraqi refugee in France has been arrested in Paris and indicted over his alleged involvement in the massacre. (AFP)
Updated 08 June 2018
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Iraqi refugee held in France on suspicion of Daesh ‘war crimes’

  • A 33-year-old man is accused of having participated in the June 2014 capture and execution of an estimated 1,700 young, mainly Shiite army recruits from the Speicher military camp.
  • Ahmed H was arrested in March and indicted days later on a range of charges including “killings in connection with a terrorist group” and “war crimes,” and placed in pre-trial detention.

PARIS: An Iraqi refugee in France thought to be a former senior member of Daesh has been arrested in Paris and indicted on suspicion of “war crimes” over his alleged involvement in a massacre in his country.
The 33-year-old man, referred to as Ahmed H, is accused of having participated in the June 2014 capture and execution of an estimated 1,700 young, mainly Shiite army recruits from the Speicher military camp to the north of Tikrit.
Ahmed H was arrested in March and indicted days later on a range of charges including “killings in connection with a terrorist group” and “war crimes,” and placed in pre-trial detention, the Paris prosecutor said.
The case highlights fears by Western intelligence agencies that extremists have been able to take advantage of the migrant crisis to enter Europe.
Having arrived in France in the summer of 2016 Ahmed H obtained refugee status a year later and was given a 10-year resident card, a source close to the investigation told AFP on Thursday.
Shortly after being granted his refugee status, Ahmed H was identified and followed by intelligence services, who then notified judicial authorities.
According to a source close to the investigation, Ahmed H has denied any involvement.
French authorities have revoked his protected status since his incarceration.
His lawyer Mohamed El Monsaf Hamdi did not want to comment immediately when contacted by AFP.
The Camp Speicher massacre was considered one of Daesh’s worst crimes after it took over large parts of Iraq in 2014.
One of the sites of the massacre was the former river police building inside former president Saddam Hussein’s palace complex in Tikrit.
Video footage subsequently released by Daesh showed an assembly-line massacre in which gunmen herded their victims toward the quay, shot them in the back of the head and pushed them in the water one after the other.


Hong Kong court throws out ex-leader’s misconduct conviction

Updated 7 min 9 sec ago
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Hong Kong court throws out ex-leader’s misconduct conviction

  • Former Chief Executive Donald Tsang was released in January after serving a 12-month jail term
HONG KONG: A Hong Kong court on Wednesday threw out former Chief Executive Donald Tsang’s conviction for misconduct relating to a property deal while in office.
Tsang was released in January after serving a 12-month jail term for failing to disclose plans to rent a luxury apartment from a businessman granted a government broadcasting license.
A panel of five judges on the Court of Final Appeal agreed the judge at Tsang’s trial had not given jurors sufficient directions on assessing whether he had deliberately concealed information before finding him guilty in 2017. The judges also ordered that no retrial be held.
Tsang, 74, served as Hong Kong’s chief executive from 2005 to 2012, is the highest-ranking former or current official sent to prison for wrongdoing in the Asian financial hub.
His conviction marked a dramatic downfall for the longtime civil servant known for his practice of wearing bow ties, whose career spanned both British colonial rule and Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997.
Tsang’s successor C.Y. Leung also became embroiled in a corruption scandal for failing to report a 50-million Hong Kong dollar ($6.4 million) payout from an Australian engineering firm but was not prosecuted.
Current Chief Executive Carrie Lam has faced calls for her resignation and attempting to push through contentious extradition legislation that sparked massive street protests. Under the handover terms, Hong Kong was guaranteed rights to elections, assembly, free speech and other civil liberties unknown in mainland China for 50 years.