First Published: 2013-02-12

 

Baghdad-London prisoner swap: Iraq minister gets green light to sign deal

 

Prisoner swap deal with Britain could see British security guard convicted of murder in Iraq head home to serve rest of his life sentence.

 

Middle East Online

Key beneficiary would be Danny Fitzsimons

BAGHDAD - Baghdad said Tuesday it has authorised the justice minister to sign a prisoner swap deal with Britain that could see a British security guard convicted of murder in Iraq head home to serve the rest of his life sentence.

Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari and British officials have been discussing the deal, which would allow the transfer of convicts between the two countries, since at least January.

A key beneficiary would be Danny Fitzsimons, who became the first Western contractor to be convicted of a crime by an Iraqi court when he was sentenced to life in prison in February 2011 for killing a Briton and an Australian in Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone in August 2009.

An Iraqi cabinet statement on Tuesday said ministers had given Shammari "the power to negotiate and sign a draft agreement for transferring convicted prisoners between Iraq and Britain".

It did not say when such an agreement would be signed, or give any details about its provisions.

Fitzsimons, a former British soldier who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, had insisted throughout his trial that he had acted in self-defence during an alcohol-fuelled brawl.

He told the court in west Baghdad that fellow Briton Paul McGuigan and Australian Darren Hoare had burst into his room and pinned him down before pointing an M4 rifle at his face, prompting him to use his pistol to kill them. He also wounded an Iraqi guard before being detained.

Foreign security contractors had not been subject to Iraqi law until the beginning of 2009, when a security agreement between the United States and Iraq lifted their immunity.

 

Iraq forces look to build floating bridge in Mosul

Erdogan ‘not welcome’ to campaign in Austria

Israel bombs Gaza after rocket attack

Ailing Bouteflika 'doing well' despite health scare

Film on Syria's White Helmets wins Academy Award

Libya PM to visit Moscow seeking better ties

Conditions in Libya driving migration to Europe

Is Jordan signalling a shift in its Syria strategy?

11 killed in Syria regime raids

Israeli checkpoint guards shoot Palestinian woman

Saudi Aramco to invest $7 billion in Malaysia oil refinery

Referendum set to be tight race for Turkey’s Erdogan

Cyber attacks in Gulf countries on the rise

Iraqi forces reach key Mosul bridge

UN urges negotiating Syria rivals to avoid insults

EU border agency says migrant rescues encourage traffickers

Israeli officials brace for Gaza war report

Key Egyptian legislator says poverty more dangerous than terrorism

UN chief says disregard for rights 'spreading'

GCC geopolitics spike military sales at IDEX

ISIS has brought Saudi Arabia and the United States closer

Morocco to withdraw from Western Sahara tension zone

Shia leadership struggle ahead after Khamenei and Sistani

The huge risks of Trump’s call to ‘take’ Iraqi oil

Trump set to zero in on Hezbollah in bid to curb Iran

Time bomb of unemployment among Arab youth

Push on IS capital Raqqa gathers momentum

Woman journalist says targeted by hardliners in Sudan

Iran's Ahmadinejad writes open letter to Trump

Iran's Rouhani to run for re-election

Kurdish reporter killed while covering Mosul battle

Libya govt secures ceasefire after Tripoli clashes

Boosting presidental powers will 'stabilise' Turkey, says PM

Saudi Foreign Minister in landmark visit to Iraq

Iraqi forces push deeper into west Mosul

Suicide attacks kill 42 in Syria's Homs

Top US commander in secret Syria trip

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

UN considers Syria sanctions over chemical attacks

Saudi Comic-Con slammed as ‘sin’ in online backlash

Jordanians protest government price hikes

Baghdad coordinated anti-IS airstrikes with Damascus says source

New Hamas Gaza leader makes first public appearance

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers in West Bank

Jordanian F-16 crashes in Saudi, pilot survives