Ahmed Hamdane Mahmoud El Ayach El Aswadi
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. It was before the Islamic State (ISIS) 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 staying for two months in Turkey he reportedly arrived in Europe, passing through Greece, Hungary and Germany.
The Iraqi authorities claim however, that ISIS reportedly released El Aswadi during the capture of the city and that he joined the organization in 2014 to subsequently participate in the massacre of hundreds of people, mostly Shiite in Tikrit. The Tikrit massacre, also known as the Camp Speicher massacre (military academy of Iraqi Air Force) took place on 12 and 13 June 2014. Armed men allegedly kidnapped and executed hundreds of young cadets who were either Shia or non-Muslims. The toll is estimated at 1,700 deaths. Based on the testimonies of other suspects, Iraqi authorities claim that Ahmed Hamdane El Aswadi was personally responsible for death of 103 cadets. El Aswadi denies any participation in the attack
El Aswadi arrived in France during the summer of 2016 and applied to the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) for refugee protection .He was granted asylum on the ground of persecution for political opinion in June 2017. This status was withdrawn by the authorities after his arrest. In fact, France revoked his status of a refugee following accusations of serious crimes raised against him, nevertheless acknowledging the risk to which he would be exposed after his return to Iraq, such as death penalty. France therefore did not expel El Aswadi, respecting its obligation of non-refoulement under human rights law.
The Iraqi authorities claim that El Aswadi was first arrested on 28 September 2002 for theft and imprisoned in Samarra, later released during the general amnesty declared by Saddam Hussein. He was arrested for a second time in 2005 for possession of weapons and 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 t ISIS and issued an international arrest warrant for him.
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 assigned jointly to the anti-terrorism and “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity” units of the Paris TGI.
On 6 March 2018, El Aswadi 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 of inhuman and degrading treatment and of using prohibited means and methods of warfare. He was subsequently placed in pre-trial detention.
He is suspected of having participated in the massacre of Camp Speicher. El Aswadi denies any involvement in the charges against him.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ahmed Hamdane El Aswadi was freed from detention and placed under judicial surveillance in May 2020. He fled to Germany, where he reported to a police station and was placed under extradition proceeding.
This is the first time that a case is entrusted jointly to the anti-terrorism unit and the “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity” unit of the TGI of Paris.