Prague court launches case against Iraqi who left Czechia to fight for Islamic State

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On Wednesday, the Prague City Court opened its case against 26-years-old Iraqi Watheq Muhammad Yousef Al-Samarraie, who, according to the indictment, flew from Prague to fight for the Islamic State. The young man is accused of conducting a terrorist attack and participating in a terrorist group. If convicted, he faces 12 to 20 years. Samarraie is being prosecuted as a fugitive.

The Iraqi, who has permanent residence in the Czech Republic where he studied and got married, joined the Islamic State terrorist organization six years ago, said public prosecutor Martin Bílý. According to the prosecution, in January 2015, Samarraie flew from Václav Havel Airport to Turkey and then continued to Mosul in northern Iraq, then controlled by the Islamic State. The prosecutor noted that the defendant identified with the IS ideology.

The indictment states that in April 2015 he actively participated in the attack on the oil refinery in Baiji. According to Bílý, Samarraie engaged in attacks on the Iraqi army and coalition troops. After being injured by a missile, he allegedly worked in Mosul as an IS propaganda teacher.

However, according to the defendant’s father, who testified on Wednesday, Samarraie did not participate in the fighting.

“He probably worked in an office and did not directly take part in the attack,” said the young man’s father, who got a three-year suspended sentence for financing terrorism last July.

The man sent dollars worth about 54,000 korunas (€2,069) to Mosul to his son so that he could move out of Mosul with his wife and son and could finally hug his grandson.

In the court hearing, however, he shared his suspicion that his son’s days were numbered.

“I think he lies somewhere under the ruins of Mosul, he and his wife and son,” the man said.

The trial will continue at the end of April, when the defendant’s ex-wife, who left Sammarraie when he began to change and drift towards Islamism, will also testify.

Title image: A picture of a gavel taken in a Czech courtroom (Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic)

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