Dutch court convicts Daesh militant of war crimes in Syria and Iraq

Fighters of Syrian Democratic Forces walk along a road after Raqqa was liberated from the Daesh group, in Raqqa, Syria October 17, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 24 July 2019

Dutch court convicts Daesh militant of war crimes in Syria and Iraq

  • The court said Akhlafa had posed smiling next to the crucified body of a man who had been executed by Daesh, and had posted the picture on Facebook

AMSTERDAM: Dutch judges on Tuesday convicted a Daesh militant of war crimes in Iraq and Syria and sentenced him to more than 7 years in prison after he posed with a crucified body and shared images of dead victims online.
Netherlands-born Oussama Achraf Akhlafa, 24, was found guilty of membership in a terrorist organization. He fought alongside Daesh militants in Mosul in Iraq and in Raqqa, Syria, between 2014 and 2016.
Prosecutors had sought a sentence of 7 years, 8 months.
The court said Akhlafa had posed smiling next to the crucified body of a man who had been executed by Daesh, and had posted the picture on Facebook.

BACKGROUND

The case is the first trial in the Netherlands dealing with war crimes committed by a Daesh militant.

“He violated the personal dignity of the deceased, thereby breaching the Geneva Convention,” the court said, in a reference to the treaties protecting the rights of war victims. Akhlafa was tried under so-called universal jurisdiction, which enables war crimes to be prosecuted regardless of where they were committed, in the first trial in the Netherlands dealing with war crimes committed by a Daesh militant.
A second defendant, Dutch-born 24-year-old Reda Nidalha, was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison for membership of a terrorist organization.


Turkey sends armed drone to N.Cyprus amid gas dispute

Updated 3 min 16 sec ago

Turkey sends armed drone to N.Cyprus amid gas dispute

  • The breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles
  • A recent agreement between Turkey and Libya claims extensive areas of sea for Turkey in the Mediterranean

FAMAGUSTA, Cyprus: A Turkish military drone was delivered to northern Cyprus on Monday amid growing tensions over Turkey’s deal with Libya that extended its claims to the gas-rich eastern Mediterranean.
The Bayraktar TB2 drone landed in Gecitkale Airport in Famagusta around 0700 GMT, an AFP correspondent said, after the breakaway northern Cyprus government approved the use of the airport for unmanned aerial vehicles.
It followed a deal signed last month between Libya and Turkey that could prove crucial in the scramble for recently discovered gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
The agreement claimed extensive areas of the sea for Turkey, undercutting claims by Greece and the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, which runs the southern part of the island.
Analysts say Turkey was pushing back against rival efforts to claim exploration rights in the area after Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and Israel excluded Turkey from a new “East Mediterranean Gas Forum” that also includes Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian territories.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Turkey, said approval for the drone was given last week “in light of the latest developments in the eastern Mediterranean region” and “to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the TRNC and Turkey.”
The TRNC’s transport minister, Tolga Atakan, said Turkish drones were partly a response to the acquisition of Israeli drones by Cyprus in October to monitor its exclusive economic zone.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops occupied the northern third of the island in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the Greek military junta.
Turkey already has two drilling vessels in the eastern Mediterranean despite the threat of European Union sanctions.
Ankara does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, and says the TRNC has the right to explore around the entire island.