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Jihadist or spy? justice refuses to rule on a case that captivates Denmark

Danish justice refused Wednesday to decide the outcome of an unprecedented trial in the case of Ahmed Samsam who claims to have been murdered. in Syria an informer for Danish intelligence but is serving a prison sentence for belonging to the Islamic State group.

“We are disappointed, but we knew that we would go to a higher court anyway,” Me Erbil Kaya, Samsam's lawyer, told AFP, adding that he would appeal of the decision.

Aged 34, Ahmed Samsam, a Dane of Syrian origin with a long criminal record, was pursuing the secret services (PET) and military intelligence (FE) in a case that captivated the Scandinavian countries.

Samsam claims to have been employed by the Danish services and sent to Syria in 2013 and 2014 in order to inform them about foreign jihadist fighters.

In 2018 in Spain, where he had established himself the previous year, in order, he says, to escape delinquents in Copenhagen, he was sentenced by the courts to eight years in prison for belonging to the Islamic State (IS) group.

A sentence he is serving currently in Denmark and which has been reduced to six years.

Throughout the trial targeting the Danish secret services, he continued to repeat, relying on witnesses and journalistic investigations which support his claims, that he had not been a jihadist fighter in Syria, but a indicator.

His lawyers hoped that a legal victory in Denmark would allow them to request a review of the Spanish conviction.

But the Copenhagen court in charge of the case refused on Wednesday to pronounce on the role that Samsam would have actually had in Syria.

The plaintiff did not provide enough evidence to demonstrate that a judgment in Denmark would have helped him reopen the case in Spain, the court wrote in its verdict.

Even if cooperation between him and the Danish secret services was proven, this “would not have led to a different outcome of the criminal proceedings” in Spain, argues the court.

The veracity of Samsam's assertions was therefore not examined.

During the trial held in September, the intelligence services for their part emphasized that they could neither confirm nor deny the identity of their informants.

“This harms (their) ability to use sources, to protect them and to prevent terrorism”, insisted their counsel, Peter Biering, at the opening of the hearing. “This is a matter of national security.”

– “Services agreement” –

Samsam never denied traveling to his home country during the civil war. In 2012, he actually left on his own to Syria, to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad. On his return, the Danish justice system took an interest in his stay but the case was closed.

The Dane claims to have then been sent to the war zone on several occasions with money and equipment provided by the PET then the FE, according to information relayed by the DR and Berlingske media, which is based on anonymous testimonies and bank transfers.

In the meantime, he was arrested in 2017 by Spanish police in Malaga where, according to the country's authorities, he was trying to acquire weapons with his brother. After his arrest, police discovered photos of him on Facebook with the IS flag. The following year, he was convicted of belonging to the jihadist group.

In Denmark, Samsam appears to have gained public support, after several press revelations.

“Most of those who followed the affair now believe that Samsam was sent to Syria with the agreement of the intelligence services”, notes Lasse Lund Madsen, professor of law at the University of Aarhus who is also closely following the story.

“This was confirmed to me by sources within intelligence,” he said.

The affair embarrasses the political class: in Parliament, a commission of inquiry preliminary launched in February to shed light on this unprecedented case was discreetly buried in June.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116