After rape-murder shocks Germany, suspect captured in Iraq

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Roses cover the photo of the 14-year-old killed schoolgirl in Wiesbaden, Germany, Friday, June 8, 2018. A young Iraqi man suspected in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in western Germany has been arrested in his homeland. (AP)
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A cross with a sign reading 'Susanna, 14 year-old, victim of tolerance' is placed among flowers and candles at a makeshift memorial at the site where 14-year-old Susanna Maria Feldman has been allegedly raped and murdered by an Iraqi asylum seeker. (AFP)
Updated 08 June 2018
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After rape-murder shocks Germany, suspect captured in Iraq

BERLIN: A failed Iraqi asylum seeker suspected of raping and murdering a teenage girl in Germany was arrested in Iraq overnight, German authorities said Friday, after his escape sparked outrage and raised questions over immigration and police failings.
Ali Bashar, 20, who is believed to have strangled 14-year-old Susanna Maria Feldman after sexually assaulting her, was “arrested by Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq at the request of German federal police,” said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
The arrest came after an outcry in Germany as police hunting the fugitive admitted that Bashar had fled with his family.
They managed to fly out of Duesseldorf airport even though the names on their identity documents did not match those on their airline tickets, said police, adding that their identity was only checked against the photos on the papers.
Bashar also turned out to have chalked up a long police record over less than three years in Germany and should have been expelled months ago.
The case puts renewed pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government over the decision to open Germany’s borders at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015, which led to the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers over two years.


US judge expected to put Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ behind bars for life

Updated 7 sec ago
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US judge expected to put Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ behind bars for life

  • Joaquin Guzman was found guilty by a jury in February of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana
  • US prosecutors have claimed that ‘El Chapo’ sold more than $12 billion worth of drugs

NEW YORK, July 17 : Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the Mexican drug lord found guilty of running a murderous criminal enterprise that smuggled tons of drugs into the United States, is scheduled to be sentenced by a US judge on Wednesday in what is likely one of the last chapters in a decades-long career.
The sentencing hearing in a federal court in Brooklyn is expected to feature a statement from someone who survived a murder plot led by Guzman, prosecutors have said. The person’s name has not been made public.
Guzman, 62, was found guilty by a jury in February of trafficking tons of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, long known as one of Mexico’s largest and most violent drug trafficking organizations.
Prosecutors have asked US District Judge Brian Cogan to sentence him to life in prison, plus 30 years for use of firearms. Guzman’s lawyers have not disputed that a life sentence is mandatory.
Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” developed a reputation as a Robin Hood-like figure that made him a folk hero to many in his home state of Sinaloa, where he was born in a poor mountain village.
He is being held in solitary confinement in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a fortress-like jail in lower Manhattan. Cogan last month rejected his request for more time to exercise on the jail’s roof, after prosecutors said that would risk an escape.
Before he was finally captured in 2016, Guzman twice escaped maximum-security prisons in Mexico. He was extradited to the United States to face trial in January 2017.
Guzman made a name for himself as a trafficker in the 1980s by digging tunnels under the US-Mexico border that allowed him to smuggle drugs more quickly than any of his rivals. He amassed power during the 1990s and 2000s through often bloody wars with rivals, eventually becoming the best-known leader of the Sinaloa Cartel.
His 11-week trial, which featured testimony from more than a dozen former associates of Guzman who had made deals to cooperate with prosecutors, offered the public an unprecedented look at the cartel’s inner workings.
The witnesses, who included some of Guzman’s top lieutenants, a communications engineer and a onetime mistress, described how he built a sophisticated organization reminiscent of a multinational corporation.
He sent drugs northward with fleets of planes and boats, and had detailed accounting ledgers and an encrypted electronic communication system run through secret computer servers in Canada, witnesses said.
US prosecutors have claimed that Guzman sold more than $12 billion worth of drugs, and Forbes magazine once listed him as among the world’s richest men.
Though other top cartel figures had been extradited to the United States before, Guzman was the first to go to trial rather than pleading guilty.
Guzman often lived on the run. Imprisoned in Mexico in 1993, he escaped in 2001 hidden in a laundry cart and spent the following years moving from one hideout to another in the mountains of Sinaloa, guarded by a private army.
He was seized again in 2014, but pulled off his best-known escape the following year when he disappeared into a ventilated, mile-long tunnel dug into his cell in a maximum-security prison.
He was finally recaptured in January 2016. The Mexican government says he blew his cover through a series of slipups, including an attempt to make a movie about his life.
Guzman’s lawyers have said they intend to appeal his guilty verdict. They have already asked Cogan to overturn it, citing a report that jurors disobeyed court rules by reading news reports about the case during the trial, but the judge rejected that request.
Despite Guzman’s downfall, the Sinaloa Cartel had the biggest US distribution presence of Mexican cartels as of last year, followed by the fast-growing Jalisco New Generation Cartel, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration.