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.


European court to hear case on stopping Brexit

Updated 20 November 2018
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European court to hear case on stopping Brexit

LONDON: The European Court of Justice will at the end of this month begin hearing a legal challenge brought by anti-Brexit campaigners to force the government to spell out how Britain could revoke its notice to leave the EU.
The hearing comes after the British government was refused permission Tuesday to appeal to the UK Supreme Court over the case, amid growing calls for Prime Minister Theresa May to hold a second referendum on Brexit.
"The best, the really compelling, the objective evidence that all options are still on the table is the desperation with which the government acted to try and block MPs from seeing the clear path to remain," said Jolyon Maugham, a lawyer who has spearheaded the legal challenge.
The Supreme Court rejected a bid from the government for permission to appeal against a lower court ruling asking the European Court to spell out "whether, when and how" Britain can unilaterally revoke its notice to leave the EU, which would see the UK pull out on March 29.
Labour, Scottish nationalist and Green members of the British, Scottish and European parliaments brought the case through the highest civil court in Scotland.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled in September to refer the question to the Court of Justice of the EU.
A hearing at the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is set for November 27.
The British government applied to the Court of Session for permission to appeal against the ruling to the higher UK-wide Supreme Court, but the application was rejected.
The government then applied directly to the Supreme Court itself for permission to appeal.
But in refusing that permission on Tuesday, the Supreme Court said the Court of Session's ruling was "preliminary" and the Scottish court would still have to reach a judgement of its own after receiving the CJEU's guidance.
Britain invoked Article 50, its two-year notice of intention to withdraw from the EU, in March 2017.