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‘Nothing to suggest’ this is a domestic terrorism event, says PM Ardern, after four stabbed in Dunedin supermarket, New Zealand - rt

‘Nothing to suggest’ this is a domestic terrorism event, says PM Ardern, after four stabbed in Dunedin supermarket, New Zealand

Four people have been stabbed in a supermarket in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, but the country’s prime minister has dismissed links with terrorism as officers label the incident a ‘random attack’.
rt - 27 minutes ago
Driver pulled over on M6 for blocking windscreen with flat-pack wardrobes - metro

Driver pulled over on M6 for blocking windscreen with flat-pack wardrobes

Officers found the driver had crammed two £210 Pax wardrobes into the car.
metro - 1 hour ago
Jewish visitors BANNED from Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day as tensions soar over Palestinian evictions & hampered Muslim pilgrimage - rt

Jewish visitors BANNED from Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day as tensions soar over Palestinian evictions & hampered Muslim pilgrimage

The Temple Mount, a site considered holy by both Muslims and Jews, will be closed to Jewish visitors as Israel celebrates Jerusalem Day, police have said, after scores were injured in Palestinian-Jewish clashes over the weekend.
rt - 1 hour ago
Traffic light system ‘won’t stop variants entering UK’ after travel ban lifted - metro

Traffic light system ‘won’t stop variants entering UK’ after travel ban lifted

The system has been described as 'window dressing', and has 'obvious flaws', scientists said.
metro - 1 hour ago
Dozens reportedly injured after Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem amid ongoing Palestinian protests - rt

Dozens reportedly injured after Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem amid ongoing Palestinian protests

Numerous people have reportedly been injured after Israeli forces raided Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the second time since Friday, amid soaring tensions over Israeli plans to forcibly evict Palestinian families from their homes.
rt - 2 hours ago
To mask or not to mask? The science and the politics of face coverings - channel 4

To mask or not to mask? The science and the politics of face coverings

Do masks actually protect against Covid-19? Why is there so little scientific evidence that they are effective? And how did a piece of health advice get so political? 
channel 4 - 3 hours ago
German architect Helmut Jahn, designer of airports from Chicago to Bangkok and Berlin

German architect Helmut Jahn, designer of airports from Chicago to Bangkok and Berlin's Sony Center, killed in bike accident

German-born Helmut Jahn, a leading postmodernist architect whose works included convention centers from Doha to Shanghai and airport projects from Chicago to Bangkok, has died at 81 in a bicycle crash.
rt - 9 hours ago
Sirens blare in Israel after 2 rockets fired from Gaza (VIDEOS) - rt

Sirens blare in Israel after 2 rockets fired from Gaza (VIDEOS)

Two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards the Israeli city of Ashkelon late on Sunday, with one being intercepted by the country's Iron Dome missile defense system, and the other falling in an open area.
rt - 11 hours ago
Iraqi protesters reportedly set Iranian consulate on fire amid fury over assassination of activist (VIDEOS) - rt

Iraqi protesters reportedly set Iranian consulate on fire amid fury over assassination of activist (VIDEOS)

Protesters have set the Iraqi city of Karbala ablaze following the killing of prominent activist Ihab al-Wazni. The demonstrators have accused Iran-backed militias of his assassination.
rt - 11 hours ago
Anneliese Dodds fired after one year in Labour reshuffle following election blow - metro

Anneliese Dodds fired after one year in Labour reshuffle following election blow

The Shadow Chancellor's departure comes as Sir Keir Starmer changes his top team.
metro - 11 hours ago
China to set up ‘line of separation’ at summit of Mount Everest to protect its climbers amid Covid-19 spike in Nepal - rt

China to set up ‘line of separation’ at summit of Mount Everest to protect its climbers amid Covid-19 spike in Nepal

Covid-19 curbs have reached the top of the world, with China saying it will create “a line of separation” at the summit of Mount Everest to prevent contact between Chinese climbers and those ascending from coronavirus-hit Nepal.
rt - 14 hours ago
Brit award nominee Arlo Parks on the success of her debut album - channel 4

Brit award nominee Arlo Parks on the success of her debut album

When Arlo Parks released her debut single she was still at school. Two years later and she's up for three Brit awards and will perform at the ceremony in front of  four thousand people on Tuesday.
channel 4 - 14 hours ago
Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross: “Of the two successive attempts for Nicola Sturgeon to gain a majority she has failed.” - channel 4

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross: “Of the two successive attempts for Nicola Sturgeon to gain a majority she has failed.”

We spoke to the leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross.
channel 4 - 14 hours ago
Sir Keir Starmer set to reshuffle Labour’s shadow cabinet after election losses - channel 4

Sir Keir Starmer set to reshuffle Labour’s shadow cabinet after election losses

Turning to the Labour Party and it appears there is a reshuffle within it's top ranks going on right now.
channel 4 - 14 hours ago
Kabul school attack: Death toll climbs to 68, over 165 hospitalized with many in critical condition - rt

Kabul school attack: Death toll climbs to 68, over 165 hospitalized with many in critical condition

Nearly 70 people, primarily female students, have been killed in an attack on a school in Kabul. The death toll is expected to rise, with many of the injured remaining in critical condition and some children missing.
rt - 15 hours ago
EU did not renew its order for AstraZeneca Covid-19 jabs beyond June, bloc’s vaccines boss says - rt

EU did not renew its order for AstraZeneca Covid-19 jabs beyond June, bloc’s vaccines boss says

The EU has not made any new orders for AstraZeneca shots beyond June, the head of the bloc’s vaccine task force has said. The EU has been at odds with the drug maker over sloppy deliveries for months.
rt - 18 hours ago
Street parties erupt in Spain as government lifts coronavirus curfew (VIDEOS) - rt

Street parties erupt in Spain as government lifts coronavirus curfew (VIDEOS)

Revelers thronged the streets of Spain’s cities on Sunday after its government lifted a six-month nightly curfew. Crowds danced, sang, and drank – but regional authorities are already planning on ending the party.
rt - 18 hours ago
Researchers detect link between teenage brain thinning and onset of psychosis later in life - rt

Researchers detect link between teenage brain thinning and onset of psychosis later in life

Scientists in the US have discovered a link between differences in the thickness of gray matter in teenagers’ brains and a subsequent increase in the risk of developing psychosis later in life.
rt - 19 hours ago
HS2 worker temporarily blinded by laser at construction site - metro

HS2 worker temporarily blinded by laser at construction site

The laser was also shone at two other workers.
metro - 19 hours ago
These are the countries left with no Covid vaccines at all - metro

These are the countries left with no Covid vaccines at all

'The first vaccine that comes along that has authorisation, I will take it.’
metro - 19 hours ago
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vice
An Iraqi Refugee Falsely Accused of Being an ISIS Killer Can Stay in the US, for Now

An Iraqi Refugee Falsely Accused of Being an ISIS Killer Can Stay in the US, for Now

vice - 2 weeks ago

Omar Ameen was close to getting out.

A refugee accused of killing an Iraqi police officer on behalf of the Islamic State, was due to be freed after two years in jail on Wednesday when a federal judge in California ruled there was insufficient evidence to extradite him to Iraq.

But in a last ditch effort to keep Ameen locked up, the US government sicked Immigration and Customs Enforcement on him, dealing a crushing setback to Ameen’s legal team who had just won their case in extradition court.

Ameen, an Iraqi national who’d relocated to the US with his family through the refugee resettlement process, was arrested at his Sacramento apartment in August 2018 as part of an extradition request from the Iraqi government. The issued warrant said Ameen was a high-ranking ISIS commander responsible for the 2014 murder of Ihsan Abdulhafiz Jasim, a police officer in Rawah, a small town in Iraq’s Anbar Province.

Ameen’s arrest made international headlines, and his case helped drive home a narrative the Trump administration had been pushing for years: Terrorists are gaming our immigration system to infiltrate the U.S. and carry out attacks.

The problem, however, was that according to Ameen’s lawyers, there was no possible way their client could have committed the murder, because he was in Turkey when it took place.

On Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan, who had been presiding over the case, agreed, and declined to certify Ameen for extradition, stating in his decision that “the evidence strongly supports that Ameen never left Turkey in June 2014, and the record before the court, taken in its entirety, does not establish probable cause that he was responsible for Jasim’s murder.”

The ruling came down that morning. Ameen’s family had been given the good news. A big Ramadan feast was in the works for his return home.

But by 3:35 PM Pacific Time, all hope of Ameen’s release was lost. He had been transferred to ICE custody on unknown charges, a fate his legal team feared might happen all along.

Omar-Ameen_0002.jpg
Omar Ameen high-fives his wife Khansaa Sabri in Sacramento County Jail. (Clare Major/VICE News)

To understand the Ameen case, you must first understand what the Iraqi government, and by extension the US government, believes the version of events to be in the lead up to Jasim’s murder. Brennan lays it out quite clearly: Ameen (who the court agrees was living with his family in Mersin, Turkey, in 2014) left Turkey, travelled the six hundred miles to Rawah, crossing war-torn Syria; joined ISIS fighters in or near Rawah; took on a leadership role; murdered Jasim (according to a lone eyewitness); and then promptly returned to his life as a refugee in Turkey.

Brennan writes in his decision that “this series of events is simply not plausible.”

“Did Ameen return to Rawah, lead a coordinated assault on a lone, undefended victim, and then make the long, perilous trip back to Turkey?” Brennan asked. “A strange, borderline unbelievable decision, if so.”

Federal public defenders Ben Galloway and Rachelle Barbour told VICE News earlier this year that they had spent more than 4,000 hours uncovering a number of contradictions and discrepancies in Ameen’s case. They also brought forth witnesses who put their client in Turkey during the time of Jasim’s murder. Despite all that, they struggled for more than two years to obtain his Turkish cell phone records, which they said would establish that Ameen was in Turkey at the time of the murder. What’s more, they had been stonewalled by the prosecution and a Justice Department focused on Ameen’s extradition to Iraq, where many international court observers agreed he would face a cursory trial and execution.

After months of investigating, VICE News reporters were able to obtain the records. They spoke to a handful of individuals who confirmed that they remember calling Ameen often in 2014. Ultimately, the records show, at the very least, that Ameen’s phone, and presumably Ameen himself, never left Turkey from May 1, 2014, to August 31, 2014.

On June 22, 2014, the day Jasim was killed, Ameen received two phone calls that geolocated his phone to a neighborhood in Mersin, Turkey, the city where he was living with his family before relocating to the U.S. The calls came in at 2:23 PM and 8:37 PM local time. Both lasted less than a minute. It should be noted that these records only reflect cellular network calls, not communications in text or VOIP on apps like Whatsapp or Viber.

While Galloway and Barbour said the records would exonerate their client, prosecutors argued Judge Brennan shouldn’t even consider them.

In a statement made prior to VICE News receiving the records, now former U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott said that the Department of Justice considers such records contradictory evidence, which, under the law, is not admissible in extradition hearings.

“Our position is that the evidence would not be considered in this proceeding because it contradicts the witness accounts who place Ameen in Iraq at the time of the murder,” he said. At most, the records “might prove that Ameen’s cell phone was in Turkey rather than Iraq at the time of the murder. This cell phone location evidence would not obliterate the probable cause established in Iraq’s extradition request, because the cell phone could have been left behind in Turkey.”

Scott told VICE News that the records are best seen as evidence for consideration by the trial court in Iraq.

Judge Brennan disagreed. In his decision not to extradite Ameen, he said the cell records were the “most critical” piece of evidence in his case, and that all of the government’s arguments against the records were “unconvincing.”

Brennan ordered that, unless there are pending domestic charges on which the government can justify Ameen’s continued detention, he “must be immediately released from custody.”

Ameen was transferred to ICE custody Wednesday afternoon. It wasn’t immediately clear what he was being held on. His attorneys say normally in these scenarios, Ameen would be released with a court date, but so far one hasn’t been set.

This reporting was done as part of an upcoming episode of the VICE News documentary series The Source. For six months, VICE News reporters have traveled from Sacramento to Iraq, talking to witnesses, accusers, and those who hold Ameen’s fate in their hands.

sauce: vice
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