French President Emmanuel Macron has granted an ISIS chief, responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, political asylum in France.
Ahmed Hamdane Mahmoud Ayach El Aswadi has been allowed to enter France without fear of arrest, despite the fact that he took part in the 2014 slaughter of 1,700 soldiers in the northern Iraqi town of Tikrit.
Express.co.uk reports: Videos and images of the unarmed cadets being beheaded, shot and choked before being dumped into unmarked graves were posted online by the jihadists, and quickly came to symbolise ISIS’ senseless brutality.
“Ahmed Hamdane Mahmoud Ayach El Aswadi was being held at Tikrit’s Tasfirat Salah Eddine prison on terrorism charges, but was freed by Islamic State jihadists after they took control of the town and of its prison in June 2014,” the interior ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the AFP news agency.
The ISIS “emir,” he said, “took part in the Camp Speicher massacre”. The Iraqi official added that witnesses had told prison officials that the ISIS leader has “personally” executed some 103 soldiers that day.
Mr El Aswadi, 33, arrived in France in the summer of 2016 and was granted refugee status in June 2017, according to French interior minister Gérard Collomb, who also confirmed that the terror suspect had been given a 10-year resident card.
French intelligence officials put him under surveillance the following month, after Interpol issued a “red notice” for him at the request of Iraqi authorities, Mr Collomb added.
Mr El Aswadi was finally arrested on March 6 in the northern French town of Normandy.
He is currently being held in pre-trial detention on suspicion of war crimes and murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise, among other terror charges. His protected status has since been revoked by French authorities.
Mr Collomb did not say why it took so long to arrest the man, who he described as a “senior” ISIS member who had been involved in “abominable crimes”.
The suspect, for his part, denies being a senior member of ISIS and playing an active role in the Camp Speicher killings.
On Sunday, his lawyer Mohamed El Monsaf Hamdi denounced an “injustice,” saying that his client had “fought against” – and not alongside – ISIS jihadists in Iraq.
Mr Collomb also said that the new, controversial immigration bill currently working its way through parliament’s upper and lower houses would “strengthen” background checks on refugees seeking asylum in France.