ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – It was revealed on Thursday that French police earlier this year had arrested an Iraqi refugee in Paris on suspicion of being a former senior member of the Islamic State (IS) group and having committed ‘war crimes.’
Ahmed H., a 33-year-old man has been accused of taking part in the capture and execution of some 1,700 Iraqi soldiers, mainly Shia army recruits, from the Speicher military camp, north of Tikrit, in June 2014.
The Iraqi refugee was detained in March over his alleged involvement in the infamous ‘Camp Speicher Massacre,’ and was indicted days later on various charges including “killings in connection with a terrorist group” and “war crimes.” He was sent to pre-trial detention, a Paris prosecutor said, according to AFP.
Ahmed’s case has alarmed Western intelligence agencies that fighters and senior members of the jihadist group have taken advantage of the migrant crisis to slip into Europe undetected.
Ahmed arrived in France in summer of 2016 and gained refugee status the year after. French authorities also gave him a 10-year residency card, a source close to the investigation told AFP on Thursday.
Intelligence services followed Ahmed after he received refugee status. Judicial authorities were later notified about the case.
The Iraqi refugee has denied any involvement with IS, a source close to the investigation said.
France has revoked his protected status since his detention.
The ‘Camp Speicher Massacre’ was one of the worst crimes IS committed in Iraq after it took over large swaths of territory in 2014.
IS at the time released footage of an assembly-line massacre at the river-side police academy inside former authoritarian Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s palace complex in Tikrit. The jihadist group filmed its members executing a group of Iraqi soldiers before dumping their bodies into the river, one after the other.
Editing by Nadia Riva