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Iraqi Refugee Exposed as ISIS Member and Murderer Arrested in California

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A member of the Islamic State terrorist organization linked to the murder of an Iraqi police officer was arrested in Sacramento today, after it was revealed that he infiltrated the United States while claiming refugee status.

The Department of Justice announced that Omar Abdulsattar Ameen appeared before a federal judge on Wednesday, after the United States acted upon an extradition request filed by the government of Iraq in regards to the matter.

Ameen is accused of murdering an Iraqi police officer while acting in support of the Islamic State’s military operations shortly after the terrorist group seized the major Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014. The Iraqi request for extradition accuses Ameen of leading a convoy that arrived in the town of Rawah and assaulted the home of a police officer named Ishan Abdulhafiz Jasim, with Ameen personally executing the man after he was incapacitated in the attack.

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Apparently he fled the country after participating in the murder. The Iraqi extradition documents also link Ameen to a lengthy list of terrorist activities both with ISIS and with its predecessor, Islamic State in Iraq, stretching back all the way to 2006. It’s possible, based upon the time frame of offenses committed by Ameen, that he participated in the insurgency against U.S military personnel who were present in the country at that time, especially considering Iraqi documents link him to utilizing and planting improvised explosive devices.

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A memorandum released with the DOJ announcement describes Ameen as first applying for refugee status with the United States shortly after arriving in Turkey around April 2012(later returning to Iraq to commit the murder alleged in the extradition request), claiming that his father had been killed for cooperating with the American military.

In reality, his father, among many other members of his family, were involved with al-Qaeda in Iraq. This false claim would go on to serve as the basis for the acceptance of Ameen’s refugee status by the U.S government. Ameen first arrived in the United States in November 2014- just five months after committing a murder with ISIS.

If Ameen had secured permanent residence, it would mean a hardened and experienced terrorist would have free reign to plot further criminal actions against his unwitting hosts. A request for information on Ameen’s travels from the Republic of Iraq to the United States was sent to the Embassy of Iraq, and the story remains developing at this time.

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Turkey Human Rights, Crackdown on Press Freedom Comes Under Renewed Scrutiny in Geneva

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Last week, the UK-based International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR)and the Press Emblem Campaign held an information meeting in Geneva, to coincide with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Turkey over hate crimes, minority, and LGBT rights, and press freedoms with a specific focus on the nation’s crackdown on these rights during the failed 2016 coup and the emergency rule that followed during which the government allegedly used its security powers to arrest thousands of people who opposed it.

Turkey’s human rights record was last reviewed in 2015 during the UPR. This was the third time in 10 years that Turkey’s record has come under review

Diplomats, minister, prominent members of Turkish media and human rights defenders – including those who have been forced into exile – were present at the event. Also in attendance was former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice Ambassador Stephen Rapp. Louise Pyne Jones, head of research, International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR) moderated the event. Two panels were held. The first was called “Press Freedom” and included Yavuz Baydar, editor-in-chief of Ahval; Evin Baris Altintas, journalist and blogger; and Massimo Frigo; senior Legal Advisor for International Commission for Jurists (ICJ). The second panel, “Human Rights Defenders,” included Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci; president of the Human Rights Foundation in Turkey; Nurcan Baysal, award-winning Turkish Human Rights Defender and Journalist; and Anne van Wezel, former co-chair EESC EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee.

Following an attempted, and failed, “coup” against the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party in 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused many of his opponents and naysayers, including journalists who were critical of him and his government, of supporting terrorism and prosecuted many of them. Erdogan also suggested that the attempted coup was the work of exiled Imam Fethullah Gulen and his movement, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization. Turkey has asked for the United States to extradite Gulen. Gulen has been living in the United States in a self-imposed exile since 1999. Over 250 people died as a result of the failed coup attempt.

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Soon after the coup, Turkey implemented a state of emergency (SOE) which it said: “was put into effect in order to ensure the continuity of effective implementation of the measures for the protection of the rights and freedoms of our citizens, democracy and the rule of law.” However, the AK Party’s critics have maintained that the AK Party used the umbrella of its broader emergency powers and continuously postponed ending that state of emergency, in an attempt to destroy its political opposition.

Many journalists were apprehended under this state of emergency until it was lifted on July 19, 2018. As such, for three straight years, and up until 2019, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Turkey as the worst jailer of journalists in the world. According to Turkish, English, and Arabic-language news site Ahval, when China jailed 48 journalists to Turkey’s 47.

Nurcan Baysal, an award-winning Kurdish Human Rights Defender, Journalist, and contributor to Ahval, said she was even cautious with the words she used on the panel discussion for fear of punishment by the Turkish government. “We are censoring ourselves because of these fears,” Baysal said. “For example, before coming here I asked myself if I should use certain words, should I use the word invasion, or should I use the word war, because today in Turkey even to say war is forbidden,” she said. “Everything that I say has an effect on not only my life but of the lives of my children and family.”

Ahval editor in chief Yavuz Baydar said, “No state or power can decide who is a journalist, it is the domain for professional organizations and should always be separate from power.”

According to the IOHR, “In the previous UPR cycle of Turkey, the Turkish government officially supported 14 recommendations related to strengthening the legal framework on freedom of expression and 5 recommendations specifically related to bringing terrorism legislation in line with international human rights standards.

Hugh Williamson, the Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch recently said, “The huge number of journalists, politicians, and perceived government critics in prison and on trial flies in the face of the Turkish government’s public statements about the state of human rights in the country “Turkey’s disregard of human rights is a disservice to its citizens, who deserve to live with dignity and freedom.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s state-run pro-government newspaper the Daily Sabah put out propaganda about the Erdogan government writing, “U.N. Human Rights Council highlighted Turkey’s achievements in the fields of judiciary, human rights and humanitarian causes on Tuesday during a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) meeting in Geneva.”

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