Ahmed Hamdane Mahmoud El Ayach El Aswadi

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Ahmed Hamdane Mahmoud Ayach El Aswadi was born on 15 April 1984 in Samarra, Iraq.

In 2014, El Aswadi was imprisoned in Tikrit for terrorist acts before the Islamic State organization attacked the city. He reportedly fled the prison where he was detained and left the city towards Erbil. A year later, in August 2015, he left Erbil for Turkey. After two months in Turkey he reportedly arrived in Europe, passing through Greece, Hungary and Germany.

The Iraqi authorities say, however, that the Islamic State organization reportedly released El Aswadi during the capture of the city and that he joined the organization in 2014 and participated in the massacre of hundreds of people, mostly Shiite in Tikrit.

El Aswadi arrived in France during the summer of 2016 when he applied to the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra) for political refugee status, which he obtained in June 2017. This status was withdrawn after his arrest.

Legal Procedure

The Iraqi authorities claim that El Aswadi was first arrested on 28 September 2002 for theft and imprisoned in Samarra, and released during the general amnesty decreed by Saddam Hussein. He was detained a second time in 2005 for possession of weapons, before being released soon after. He was subsequently arrested again for terrorist acts and imprisoned at Tasfirat Salah Eddine Prison in Tikrit.

A case against him is currently ongoing in Iraq. The Iraqi authorities suspect him of having administered the Samarra region on behalf of the Islamic State organization.

One year after arriving in France in the summer of 2017, he was identified by the intelligence services who reported his presence to the judicial authorities.

In November 2017, the prosecutor’s office of the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) in Paris decided to open an investigation. This is the first time that a case has been entrusted jointly to the anti-terrorism and “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity” poles of the Paris TGI.

On 6 March 2018, he was arrested in Lisieux, in Normandy. After two days in custody, he was indicted for criminal conspiracy, assassinations in connection with a terrorist enterprise and war crimes by inhuman and degrading treatment and by prohibited means and methods of warefare. He was subsequently placed in pre-trial detention.

He is suspected of having participated in the massacre of Camp Speicher, a military base near Tikrit, where in June 2014 armed men abducted hundreds of young recruits of the army, mainly Shiites, whom they executed, killing up to 1’700 people. The Iraqi authorities claim that according to testimonies from other prisoners, El Aswadi personally executed 103 soldiers.

El Aswadi denies any involvement in the charges against him.


This is the first time that a case is entrusted jointly to the anti-terrorism unit and the pole “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity” of the TGI of Paris.