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.

 

Syria army advances deeper into east Aleppo

Saudi Arabia names new Labour Minister, reshuffles councils

US rules out military intervention in Libya

Putin getting admirers from US to Europe to Syria

Qarawiyyin library holds written wonders

Egypt court strikes down part of protest law

Eight arrested in Morocco over alleged ties with IS

Syria regime seizes half of rebel parts of Aleppo

Europol warns of changing IS tactics

Palestinian contenders for Fatah posts set to declare

Protests erupt in Istanbul over ‘Aleppo massacre’

Aleppo family reunited after war kept them apart for months

Syria rebels put up fight for key Aleppo district

Obama unlikely to act on Israel-Palestine before leaving office

UN says torture 'widespread' after Turkey coup

International push aims to protect endangered heritage

Journalist's body found shot in Iraq’s Kurdish region

Iran urges Kenya to release two of its citizens

Morocco business diplomacy at heart of strategy to rejoin African Union

Turkish prosecutor calls for drop of Gaza ship charges against Israelis

Iran preparing ‘appropriate’ response to US sanctions renewal

Saudi government detects fresh hacking attempts

Congress approves Iran sanctions extension

Staggering casualty toll in Mosul offensive

Pentagon says IS jihadists making 'last stand' in Sirte

Iraq faces post-IS problem in Shiite militias

Turkey detains business executive for alleged Gulen links

Putin says Russia not looking for enemies

Tunisia sentences protesters to 14 years in jail

Saudi increases jail term for rights activist to 11 years

Misery deepens for Mosul refugees with heavy rain

Turkish parliament to vote on bill expanding Erdogan’s power

UN envoy to Yemen, President meet in new peace bid

Syrian Grand Mufti rejects terrorism claims

Qatar blocks popular news website

Desperate civilians brave Aleppo front line

OPEC spares Iran oil production cuts

Minister says Abbas is Israel's top 'ideological' foe

Erdogan insists Syria operation only targets terrorists

Kuwait opposition must form strong coalition to be effective

Russian FM denies Russia, Syria to blame for Turkish deaths

UN warns of ‘giant graveyard’ in Aleppo as Syrian troops advance

Nobel laureates call for protection of heritage sites

OPEC output cut boosts oil price

Morocco accuses AU chair of blocking readmission