Snap taken with President Marcelo (left) when Yaser (centre) had no idea of what was coming his way
Snap taken with President Marcelo (left) when Yaser (centre) had no idea of what was coming his way

Former Daesh police brothers receive stiff jail terms 

Iraqi brothers arrived in Portugal among group of refugees from Greek camp

Two Iraqi brothers who managed to trick authorities into believing they were bona-fide refugees when they were in fact members of terrorist group Daesh, have been sentenced to 10 and 16 years jail by a court in Lisbon.

This extraordinary story broke in 2021 when it was discovered that one of the brothers had been working in a restaurant visited regularly by political figures: Yaser Ameen even appeared in ‘selfies’ with the President of the Republic (who said in his defence that he couldn’t possibly be expected to know the pasts of people he spontaneously posed with for photographs).

The young men’s crimes, as members of Daesh’s Al Hisbah (Religious Police) and Al Amniyah (Intelligence Services) departments during the terrorist group’s occupation of Iraq (specifically between 2014 and 2016), caught up with them after other refugees living in Portugal, realised the two men were living freely here, and reported their true identities to authorities.

Beyond this, there seems to have been nothing ‘untoward’ about Yaser’s behaviour after arriving in Portugal. Not so Ammar, who was known for being ‘dramatic’ – having threatened to “blow up the Portuguese Refugee Council” as well as destroy the office of an employee he felt was not helping him sufficiently.

On another occasion it was reported that Ammar vowed he would commit suicide on the steps of a public building ‘for all journalists to see’, because he was so irritated that his application for residency was not moving forwards.

Ammar was labelled so “unstable” early on in the process, that he never actually received Portuguese residency

Yesterday, judge Alexandra Veiga, ruled that neither brother had been “fleeing Daesh” when they left Iraq and joined the UN/ EU refugee programme. They “were Daesh. They took an oath of allegiance, they were trained. There is no justification for a man to do what was done to other men: rapes, torture, slavery and deaths”.

Sentencing Yaser to 10 years jail for the crime of adhesion to a terrorist organisation, she passed the sentence of 16 years for Ammar, for the added crimes of threatening to blow himself (and the refugee council) up, and for a crime committed in Iraq, in which he arrested a shop keeper because he had not closed for business during the time for prayers so that the man could be subjected to a public flogging.

Defence lawyer Lopes Guerreiro has said he means to appeal the convictions: “These defendants are serving as scapegoats for international terrorism; their convictions are an example of the vassalage of Portuguese judicial authorities to European counterparts, the Americans and the United Nations”.

Public prosecutors had asked the court for the maximum jail terms for both men, 25 years.

UPDATE: Public prosecutors have said they will also be appealing the sentences, because they feel they were “too soft”.

The judge’s decision also allows for the two men’s expulsion from Portugal, albeit this may not happen as authorities here refuse to extradite to countries that have the death penalty (as Iraq does).

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