first_imgBearded man with IS leader al-Baghdadi`s appearance speaks in this screen grab taken from video. Photo: ReutersUS forces have quietly sent at least 30 suspected foreign Islamic State fighters captured in Syria last year and in late 2017 to stand trial in Iraq, interviews with the men, Iraqi sources and court documents show.Three of the men have been convicted of IS membership and sentenced to death by Iraqi courts, while five have been given life sentences. Four of them told Reuters they were tortured in prison, a claim Reuters was unable to verify.Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) denied that detainees were transferred to their custody from Syria in 2017 and 2018, and denied the detainees’ claims of torture.While the fate of thousands of IS fighters captured in Syria remains unresolved, the roughly 30 suspected foreign jihadists were transferred to Iraq in 2017 and 2018 after they were captured by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to Iraqi court files, US detention records, intelligence and judicial sources as well as people familiar with the matter.The US military’s Central Command, which oversees US forces in the Middle East, declined to comment on Reuters’ findings, but acknowledged the challenges posed by detainees captured by Kurdish militias, whose authority is not internationally recognised”The issue of foreign terrorist fighters in SDF custody in Syria is an extremely complex problem,” spokesman Captain Bill Urban said.The United States wants countries to take responsibility for their foreign fighters through “prosecution, rehabilitation programmes, or other measures that sufficiently prevent detainees from re-engaging in terrorism”, he said.”We remain engaged with a wide range of international partners to ensure that these foreign terrorist fighters never threaten anyone again.”Eight men convicted for their role in IS – from Belgium, France, Germany, Australia, Egypt and Morocco – were interviewed by Reuters during their appearances in Iraqi courts.They said that after being captured in Syria by US-backed SDF forces they were interrogated about their roles in Islamic State by the SDF and US forces. They said they were then held, mostly in solitary confinement, at US military bases in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region or in Jordan before being handed into Iraqi custody.The SDF declined to comment on the question of prisoner transfers, referring Reuters to Iraqi authorities. The SDF has said it wants to get rid of foreign fighters because it is not in a position to put them on trial.Human RightsUS President Donald Trump is pressing European nations to take back their nationals from among more than 2,000 suspected foreign fighters captured during the final battles to destroy the group’s self-declared caliphate in Syria earlier this year.The US and European allies have held talks with Baghdad on a possible bulk transfer of prisoners from Syria to be prosecuted in Iraq since the start of the year, Western diplomats, Iraqi and US officials say.While there is no common European policy on how to handle detained foreign fighters from Europe, Iraq has shown it is willing to prosecute.Prisoner transfers are not prohibited under international law if they come with human rights guarantees, but that applies to transfers between states – not a non-state actor such as the SDF.”The sub-contraction of trials … to an ill-resourced, under-funded, ill-equipped criminal justice system in Iraq can only be described as an abrogation of responsibility,” said Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN special rapporteur for human rights while countering terrorism.Iraqi judicial officials did not respond to requests for comment.But some prisoners have already been sent to Iraq.An Iraqi military intelligence source said foreign IS detainees had been handed over by the SDF to US forces in 2017 and 2018 inside Syrian territory, and were transported by air to Iraq.Among them is Belgian Bilal al-Marchohi, 23, who was sentenced to death on March 18. A spokesman for Belgium’s prime minister declined to comment on his case, but a consular official was present at his trial.Marchohi said he was shuttled between multiple facilities in Syria before being taken to Iraq. He was held by the SDF in a house and a former school, then moved to a facility “where there were only Americans” and next flown – blindfolded and bound – by helicopter to another site. Marchohi said he was kept in solitary confinement, under constant bright lights with few toilet breaks.”The Americans threatened me, my wife and kids,” he said. “They said, ‘we can put a bullet between your two eyes.'”He said he signed a blank confession, which was later filled out by Iraqi authorities to detail his activities in Syria. It appeared to have been changed later to show he was arrested in Iraq, according to his court file, seen by Reuters. In the court file, there is also a reference to his detention by the US military for two months at base in Iraq.The other seven suspected fighters who spoke to Reuters in Iraq said they were also arrested by the SDF, or by the SDF and US forces, in Syria and then held in US detention.Foreign militants like Marchohi – who served in the IS religious police, according to court documents – held elite status within IS ranks. At their trials, judges described the men as battle-tested fighters.German Levent Ozgurt, 24, said he was detained near Aleppo in Syria by the SDF in November 2017 and also flown by helicopter to a US base in northern Iraq, where he was held in solitary confinement.The German foreign ministry said it had no evidence of his transfer from Syria to Iraq.Marchohi and Ozgurt said they were told by US forces that they would be repatriated when their interrogations ended.Instead, they were handed to Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), which they said beat them, held them in stress positions and gave them electric shocks via cattleprods to their genitals.Marchohi showed Reuters scarring he said was from beatings and electric shocks. Ozgurt showed Reuters similar marks on his back at a court appearance where he was sentenced to death on Dec. 4. Germany’s ambassador to Baghdad was present at the trial.The eight detainees also told Reuters confessions used to prosecute them were falsified. Six said they were coerced into thumbprinting the typewritten confessions through torture. Iraqi authorities denied the claims.CTS spokesperson Sabah al-Naaman said any claims that detainees were transferred to their custody from Syria in 2017 and 2018 were untrue, and denied they had been tortured.”IS members know how to tell lies to mislead judges in order to evade prosecutions,” Naaman said.last_img

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first_imgOTTAWA, Aug. 16, 2017 – Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston invite the public to watch Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 on the evening of Saturday, August 26, 2017, as part of Rideau Hall Movie Nights. This film is being presented free of charge courtesy of leading independent studio Entertainment One (eOne)/Les Films Séville.“Rideau Hall Movie Nights gives Canadians the opportunity to feel proud of our talented, homegrown film industry,” said the Governor General. “Filmmakers and actors have a unique ability to both entertain and make us reflect on our lives and it’s important that we celebrate their skills and success. Celebration happens here—what better place to do this than on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the home of the people of Canada.”Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 is a bilingual Canadian film written by Patrick Huard, directed by Alain Desrochers and coproduced by Jessie films and Item 7. The comedy features the duo Colm Feore, Patrick Huard, as well as Lucie Laurier, Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse, Erik Knudsen, Mariana Mazza, Andreas Apergis, Marc Beaupré, Noam Jenkins, Jameson Kraemer, Neil Crone, Hamza Haq and Catherine Saint-Laurent. In the highly anticipated movie, David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) and Martin Ward(Colm Feore) are once again forced to work together. This time, the Quebec investigator is under Ward’s command, since Ward is now a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer. The unlikely duo has the mission of dismantling a stolen car ring, which in fact fronts for something much, much more sinister. Through their experiences, Bouchard and Ward discover that the enemies are not always whom you think. They also realize that as time goes by, some things change, while others stay exactly the same. Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Twitter The film was selected by the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General in consultation with Canadian film industry partners, in order to best showcase Canadian feature films in the National  Capital Region. More details about Rideau Hall Movie Nights will be announced at a later date.About Rideau Hall Movie NightsRideau Hall Movie Nights feature English- and French-Canadian films, screened on the grounds of Rideau Hall. Members of the public are invited to bring their blankets, settle in with some free popcorn and watch these films under the stars.The Office of the Secretary to the Governor General is partnering with Canadian organizations who are committed to promoting Canada’s cultural vitality: Bell Media; Canada Media Fund; Canadian Film Institute; Canadian Media Producers Association; Entertainment One (eOne)/Les Films Séville; Eye on Canada; the National Capital Commission; and Telefilm Canada.Learn more about Rideau Hall Movie Nights online at www.rideauhallmovienights.ca. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #GGMovie.Follow GGDavidJohnston and RideauHall on Facebook and Twitter.last_img

OSHAWA, Ont. — General Motors Canada and Unifor are squaring off before the Ontario Labour Relations Board about whether union workers have engaged in illegal strikes as part of a campaign to stop the closure of GM’s assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont.GM says it filed an application with the board seeking to “stop any further illegal activities” after several labour actions by union members.Unifor says in its filed response that it denies any violations of the law and that incidents were discrete and quickly resolved.GM’s allegations focus on several incidents where union members halted work or engaged in demonstrations, including on Nov. 26 when the company announced the closure and Jan. 9 when it confirmed it would not reconsider its decision.Unifor says in a statement that it stands behind the fight to save jobs that depend on the plant, and expects GM to stand up to commitments in the collective bargaining agreement that the company won’t close the plant until Sept. 2020.GM declined to comment beyond confirmation of its filing.The Canadian Press

Junior setter Sanil Thomas sets the ball during the second set of No. 3 Ohio State’s match against No. 8 Penn State on Jan. 28, 2018 in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions in straight sets (25-19, 25-15, 25-17) to pick up their fifth win of the season. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Senior ReporterThe No. 7 Ohio State men’s volleyball team (21-5, 11-3 MIVA) will continue its march through the MIVA tournament when it battles Lewis University (19-10, 9-5 MIVA) for a spot in the MIVA finals at 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. John Arena. Ohio State and Lewis have faced off twice this season and split the pair of matches — each winning at home by a final score of 3-0. The most recent match was March 31 at St. John Arena in which the Buckeyes had the home advantage and redeemed their earlier loss against the Flyers.If history is prepared to repeat itself, the Buckeyes should feel comfortable knowing they have home-court advantage.“That’s a huge advantage for us. Clearly, the last time we played we handled them fairly well,” head coach Pete Hanson said. “It was here in this building and, you know, I think the guys are in a good frame of mind.”Junior setter Sanil Thomas anticipates that this match might not be as easy as the last team the two teams faced off against one another. Unlike last time, both teams have something big for which to play.Not only will the two teams be playing for a spot in the MIVA finals, but the winner will put itself in a good position to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament.“We know they’re going to play hard, but we’re going to see if we can match that energy,” Thomas said. “We know that if we play to our level it’ll be a good match. We’re hoping for their best and preparing as much as we can.”The winner of Wednesday’s matchup will advance from the semifinals into the finals to face the winner of the game between No. 11 Ball State and No. 8 Loyola. Like Ohio State and Lewis, Ball State and Loyola split the season series against one another with each winning on their respective home courts. Each team has a drastically different style of play, but Hanson said he expects Loyola to have the upper hand given that it will be playing on its home court in Chicago. “That’s the rubber game between those two teams. Each team won on their own home court and, again, Ball State is at Loyola so you would have to give the advantage to the home team, Loyola, but this is sports and anything can happen,” Hanson said.Thomas said the matchup between the two will be an intriguing one to follow. Though Ball State is a much more defensive team that does not beat itself, Thomas said Loyola will play a physical brand of volleyball that keeps them aggressive most of the time.While Hanson has looked ahead briefly to the potential matchup that could lie on the other side of the semifinal clash with Lewis, he understands the importance of focusing mainly on what is directly ahead of him and his team.Right now, he feels the team will just need to keep its focus on its own gameplay and continue to improve to have a chance against the Flyers.“We lost two five-set matches — one to Loyola, one to Ball State — where we were ahead 2-0 in both of those matches, took a 10-minute break and then kind of lost our momentum,” Hanson said. “I just want to make sure we get to Saturday and we play somebody on Saturday.”

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