Shamima Begum ‘fears she will be executed’ as she faces trial in Syria

Shamima Begum ‘fears she will be executed’ as she faces trial in Syria
Shamima Begum said that she has reformed her ways since she joined Daesh in 2015. (Screengrab)
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Updated 13 June 2022

Shamima Begum ‘fears she will be executed’ as she faces trial in Syria

Shamima Begum ‘fears she will be executed’ as she faces trial in Syria
  • Begum fled the UK to join Daesh at the age of 15, but has been unable to return to the country after her citizenship was revoked
  • Speaking from Al-Roj prison camp in Syria, she said: ‘No, no, I don’t want that, that can’t happen; I don’t want to be tried in Syria’

LONDON: Daesh bride Shamima Begum fears she will be executed after being told she is to stand trial for terror offenses, reports have stated.

Begum, who fled the UK at the age of 15 to join Daesh, was stripped of her citizenship in February 2021 and has been unable to return to the country.

Officials in Rojava – a self-governing region in north-eastern Syria run by Kurdish forces – claim to have abolished the death penalty, but Begum still fears she could be executed.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday from Al-Roj prison camp in Syria, she said: “No, no, I don’t want that, that can’t happen. I don’t want to be tried in Syria.”

Now 22, Begum said she has reformed her ways since she joined the terrorist group in 2015.

She added: “I was an angel, you can ask my mum, I was an angel.

“I did not like my primary school because I faced some racism there, not constantly, but at a young age one thing is enough.

“Not bullied, but little comments and stuff and favoritism with teachers to white kids over non-white kids.”

Begum also claimed that she had been groomed online before leaving the UK with her friends, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana.

In 2019, she was found nine months pregnant and said she had previously lost two children.

A source said that Begum does not have faith in the justice system in Rojova.

They said: “Begum has convinced herself she’ll pay the ultimate price if she is tried and found guilty of terrorism offenses in Syria.

“She’s very frightened and concerned. She’s been told she will be put on trial in Rojava, probably as one of a group of women accused of terrorist offenses.”

The source said that her trial is likely to take place in September or October.

“Rojava authorities don’t advocate the death penalty but that has failed to convince her she won’t escape such a punishment,” the source said.

“And even if she does, she’s facing a life jail sentence.”

Tasnime Akunjee, a solicitor who has previously acted for Begum, said: “I feel her fears are justified. The justice system there is somewhat meagre.”


Israeli troops kill Palestinian after alleged car-ramming

Israeli troops kill Palestinian after alleged car-ramming
Updated 56 min 56 sec ago

Israeli troops kill Palestinian after alleged car-ramming

Israeli troops kill Palestinian after alleged car-ramming
  • The military said the soldiers opened fire when the motorist tried to run them over
  • Israeli media said the driver was killed

JERUSALEM : Israeli troops on Saturday shot and killed a Palestinian motorist who allegedly tried to ram his car into a group of soldiers patrolling in the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli soldiers and media.
The incident took place near the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank — the focal point of the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in the occupied territory since 2016.
In a brief statement, the military said the soldiers opened fire when the motorist tried to run them over. Israeli media said the driver was killed. There was no way to immediately verify the account.
Palestinian assailants have carried out dozens of attempted stabbings and car rammings in recent years. But Palestinians and human rights groups say that Israeli troops often use excessive force, and in some cases, have shot people who did not pose a threat.
Israeli troops have been carrying out stepped-up activity in the northern West Bank since a series of deadly Palestinian attacks inside Israel last spring. Several attackers came from the area.
Some 90 Palestinians have been killed in the crackdown. Israel says many were militants or local youths who hurled stones and firebombs at troops, though several civilians have also died.
Early this week, Palestinian security forces, which coordinate activity with Israel, clashed with Palestinian youths in Nablus. The incident cast a spotlight on the growing ranks of Palestinian youths who see no end in sight to Israel’s 55-year military occupation and view the Palestinian Authority as a vehicle of corruption and collaboration with Israel.
Israeli officials say they are on heightened alert for violence ahead of the Jewish new year, which begins Sunday night.


Kurdish protesters rally in Irbil over Mahsa Amini’s death

Kurdish protesters rally in Irbil over Mahsa Amini’s death
Updated 24 September 2022

Kurdish protesters rally in Irbil over Mahsa Amini’s death

Kurdish protesters rally in Irbil over Mahsa Amini’s death
  • Protestors carrying placards with Amini's photograph gathered outside the UN compound in Erbil chanting "Death to the dictator"
  • "Women, Life, Freedom" chanted others

IRBIL, Iraq: Dozens of Iraqi and Iranian Kurds rallied in Iraq’s northern city of Irbil on Saturday over the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in the custody of Iranian police.
Protesters carrying placards with Amini’s photograph gathered outside the United Nations compound in Irbil chanting “Death to the dictator” — a reference to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“Women, Life, Freedom” chanted others, many of whom were Iranian Kurds living in self-imposed exile in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Protests broke out in northwestern Iran a week ago at the funeral of Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died after falling into a coma following her detention by morality police enforcing hijab rules on women’s dress.
“They killed (Amini) because of a piece of hair coming out from her hijab. The youth is asking for freedom. They are asking for rights for all the people because everyone has the right to have dignity and freedom,” said protester Namam Ismaili, an Iranian Kurd from Sardasht, a Kurdish town in Iran’s northwest.
Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran, the strict dress codes for women and an economy reeling from sanctions.
“We are not against religion, and we are not against Islam, we are secularists, and we want religion to be separate from politics,” said protester Maysoon Majidi, who is a Kurdish Iranian actor and director living in Irbil.


Iran regrets Ukraine’s downgrading of ties over drones

Iran regrets Ukraine’s downgrading of ties over drones
Updated 24 September 2022

Iran regrets Ukraine’s downgrading of ties over drones

Iran regrets Ukraine’s downgrading of ties over drones
  • Ukraine said on Friday that it would downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran over Tehran’s decision to supply Russian forces with drones

Iran regrets Ukraine’s decision to downgrade ties over the reported supply of Iranian drones to Russia, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Saturday.
Nasser Kanaani said Ukraine should “refrain from being influenced by third parties who seek to destroy relations between the two countries,” a ministry statement said.
Ukraine said on Friday that it would downgrade diplomatic ties with Iran over Tehran’s decision to supply Russian forces with drones, a move President Volodymyr Zelensky called “a collaboration with evil.”
Kanaani said Ukraine’s decision was “based on unconfirmed reports and resulted from a media hype by foreign parties.”
Military authorities in southern Ukraine said on Saturday they had shot down at least seven Iranian drones, including six Shahed-136 “kamikaze” craft over the sea near the ports of Odesa and Pivdennyi on Friday.
These included — for the first time in Ukraine — a MoHajjer-6, a larger Iranian drone, the southern military command said.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in an English language tweet on Saturday that Iran was supporting Russia “by giving modern drones to (a) backward country for the murders of Ukrainians.”


Over 700 protesters arrested in Iran, including 60 women

Over 700 protesters arrested in Iran, including 60 women
Updated 24 September 2022

Over 700 protesters arrested in Iran, including 60 women

Over 700 protesters arrested in Iran, including 60 women
  • Thirty-five people have been killed in the demonstrations, which are spreading across Iran
  • Women have played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning their veils

DUBAI/TEHRAN: Iranian police in just one province have arrested over 700 people during more than a week of protests following the death of a young woman in custody, Tasnim news agency reported Saturday.

General Azizollah Maleki, police chief of Guilan province, announced “the arrest of 739 rioters including 60 women,” the Iranian media outlet said.

Iran must deal decisively with protests which have swept the country after the death in custody of a woman detained by the Islamic Republic’s morality police, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday.

Thirty-five people have been killed in the weeklong demonstrations, according to Iran’s state television, with protest spreading to most of the country’s 31 provinces.

On Friday, state-organized rallies took place in several Iranian cities to counter the anti-government protests, and the army promised to confront “the enemies” behind the unrest.

State media quoted Raisi on Saturday as saying Iran must “deal decisively with those who oppose the country’s security and tranquility.”

Raisi was speaking by telephone to the family of a member of the Basij volunteer force killed while taking part in the crackdown on unrest in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

The president “stressed the necessity to distinguish between protest and disturbing public order and security, and called the events ... a riot,” state media reported.

The protests broke out in northwestern Iran a week ago at the funeral of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died after falling into a coma following her detention by morality police enforcing hijab rules on women’s dress.

Her death has reignited anger over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms in Iran, the strict dress codes for women and an economy reeling from sanctions.

Women have played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning their veils. Some have publicly cut their hair as furious crowds called for the fall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The protests are the largest to sweep the country since demonstrations over fuel prices in 2019, when Reuters reported 1,500 people were killed in a crackdown on protesters. It was the bloodiest confrontation in the Islamic Republic’s history.

Iranian news agencies reported on Saturday that 739 protesters had been arrested in the northern province of Gilan, on the Caspian Sea.

The activist Twitter account 1500tasvir, which has 125,000 followers, said communication channels with the northwestern town of Oshnavieh had been cut off, and landlines were down.


Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria

Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria
Updated 24 September 2022

Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria

Death toll continue to rise in Lebanon migrant shipwreck off Syria
  • Lebanon has become a starting point for illegal migration
  • ‘Death boats’ set off every day from the northern coast of Lebanon

BEIRUT: Eighty-nine bodies have been recovered since a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon sunk off Syria’s coast, Syrian state media said Saturday, as the Lebanese army said it arrested a suspected smuggler behind one of the deadliest recent shipwrecks in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Syrian Observatory meanwhile reported the casualties were at 88, with 50 passengers still unaccounted for.
Around 150 people, mostly Lebanese and Syrians, were on board the small vessel that went down on Thursday off the Syrian city of Tartous.
Lebanon has become a starting point for illegal migration, with its citizens joining Syrian and Palestinian refugees clamoring to leave their homeland.
Illegal “death boats” set off every day from the northern coast of Lebanon. Some succeed in reaching their destination, a few are rescued by the coast guards of the countries in whose territorial waters their boats capsize, and the rest are swallowed up by the sea.

Former Tripoli MP Mustafa Alloush told Arab News: “People have completely lost hope that the situation in Lebanon could improve and there are mafias exploiting this.”
He said 95 percent of such illegal trips succeed in reaching their destinations, and those people who make it to Europe encourage their relatives and acquaintances to make the same journey.
He added: “The Lebanese authorities know who these smugglers organizing such trips are. They get huge sums of money. Security officers are paid off to facilitate such journeys or turn a blind eye.
“Why did this boat head toward Syria? Is it not to escape UNIFIL (the UN Interim Force in Lebanon), which patrols Lebanese waters?
“Drug trafficking is illegal, but remains active given the amounts of money paid to dealers and distributors.
“The same goes for human trafficking and smuggling. Money is paid, specifically to those who are supposed to protect people in this country.”
Caretaker Minister of Public Works Ali Hamieh said: “This type of boat was not made for such trips and cannot carry that many people. It turned out that it was recently imported and arrived in Lebanon two months ago.”
Most passengers were residents of northern Lebanon, some were Palestinian refugees from the Nahr Al-Bared camp, but the majority were Syrians, from Idlib, Aleppo and Latakia.
These Syrians had illegally made their way into Lebanon to escape by sea through the north of the country.
Among the victims were two girls who were buried in Akkar, north Lebanon, after being transported there by car from Tartous.
The mayor of Qarqaf, in Akkar, said: “The mother of the two girls drowned, as did her two sons. The father is still alive, but he is in a hospital in Syria.”
The boat had embarked from Lebanon’s northern Minyeh region, with passengers paying $3,000 for children and $7,000 per adult for the trip.
Lebanon’s Secretary-General of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party Ali Hijazi, who traveled to Tartous on Friday, said survivors had informed him the boat “left from Minyeh on Tuesday morning and experienced a technical malfunction. It capsized due to the waves on Thursday morning.”
The Lebanese Army announced it has arrested eight suspected smugglers. The tragedy coincided with the announcement on social media of another boat that left the northern coast of Lebanon bound for Italy and broke down between Greece and Turkey. Its passengers were rescued and are currently in Turkey.

with AFP