Federal government pushes Phoenix driving school owners to hand over to Iraq

Phoenix (AP) —Prosecutors are asking judges to approve a request to hand over the owner of a Phoenix driving school to Iraq for killing two police officers in the city of Fallujah, Iraq nearly 15 years ago. .. Al Qaeda Group.

They prove that the evidence provided by the Iraqi authorities proves the surrender request of Ali Yusif Ahmed al-Nouri from Iraq, who came to the United States as a refugee in 2009 and became a U.S. citizen in 2015. He said he met the criteria of the judge. Prosecutors said witnesses saw Ahmed at the scene of the 2006 killing, and that another person who claimed to be part of the al-Qaeda group had Ahmed involved in both deaths.

Ahmed’s lawyer asked the judge to deny Iraq’s delivery request in a Friday submission, saying his defense team was unable to properly investigate the allegations due to the suspension of overseas travel during the pandemic. They also said that the delivery of Ahmed was not permitted under the provisions of the US Iraqi Treaty, which essentially prohibits the delivery of political crimes.

Ahmed, whose deportation hearing in Phoenix is ​​scheduled for May 25, has denied involvement in the murder and membership in a terrorist group.

His lawyer said violence and turmoil in Iraq hurt Ahmed and urged him to flee to Syria, where he lived in a refugee camp for three years before moving to the United States. Authorities said Ahmed spent time in a Syrian prison, but could not determine what caused him to land behind the prison.

According to defense lawyers, Ahmed volunteered for the Phoenix refugee community, worked as a military cultural adviser, and visited bases in other states to assist personnel preparing to send to the Middle East to fight the Islamic State. I did. He bought a house in Surprise, on the northwestern tip of Metro Phoenix, and ran a driving school that mainly served Middle Eastern immigrants.

In both attacks on the two Fallujah officers, armed men wearing masks jumped out of the car and fired at the officers to escape.

In the first shooting, an attacker held a gun in the witness’s head in June 2006, and another attacker who began firing at police officers experienced a gun failure. Another attacker then killed police Lieutenant Issam Ahmed Hussein. According to court records, witnesses later identified Ahmed, who was not wearing a mask, as the leader of the group.

Four months later, Iraqi officials say Ahmed and another man fatally shot police officer Karido Ibrahim Mohammad while the policeman was sitting outside the store. According to court records, witnesses told authorities that Ahmed, whose mask had fallen off, was recognized as one of the perpetrators.

Prosecutors say the role of US courts in delivery is limited to determining whether there is evidence of possible causes to support each allegation. They say that ultimately the decision to send Ahmed to Iraq will be left to the office of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. According to court records, prosecutors said that under the rules of the delivery procedure, Ahmed’s ability to submit evidence was limited, and he could not establish an alibi or offer defense. It was.

Defense lawyers have argued that Ahmed was charged with a crime in Iraq. Instead, they said their clients were the targets of arrest warrants that wanted to be cross-examined by Iraqi investigative courts, which acted more like police and prosecutors than courts of first instance.

Prosecutors said Ahmed’s arrest warrant indicated that he was being charged in Iraq for violating the law prohibiting planned murder. State Department officials said in court records that the United States had regularly handed over sought-after fugitives in other countries, even though it had not yet been formally charged.

Immediately after Ahmed was arrested in January 2020, one of his lawyers provided information with “everything that can be gained by delivering what appears to be a” terrorist refugee “to the Trump administration in the election year.” He said the incident occurred from the information provided by the person. His lawyer also said that extradition to Iraq had never been successful during the more than 80 years of the extradition treaty between the United States and Iraq.