Hungary sentences Islamic State terrorist commander with Malta link to life imprisonment

Hungarian court finds Hassan Farhoud guilty of crimes against humanity and multiple counts of murder, at least one of which involved beheading

An Islamic State terrorist commander has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Hungary with the help of the Maltese police’s Counter Terrorism Unit.

In a non-final ruling, a Hungarian court found 27-year-old Hassan Farhoud guilty of crimes against humanity and multiple counts of murder, at least one of which involved beheading.

Farhoud was arrested in Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc International Airport in 2018, over forged documents.

The accused had been given a six-month suspended sentence suspended for two years by a Maltese court, after he was found living on the island with forged documents.

He was using a fake Italian ID card, and was ordered to leave the country immediately.

According to the indictment, of the systematic murders, Farhoud was also personally involved in the execution of at least two people : one was beheaded and a civilian was killed by gunfire.

Hungarian Counter Terrorism police had been involved in launching investigations into several Member States of the European Union, including Malta, Belgium and Greece.

Cooperation between the criminal authorities of the Member States was brought together by the Hungarian National Member for Eurojust, based in The Hague.

A total of fifteen letters rogatory were obtained.

Sources said the Maltese Counter Terrorism Unit was involved and assisted TEK in Hungary in a joint operation through a European Investigation Order by assisting with witnesses.

Farhoud is alleged to have commanded an armed group of the Islamic State and was arrested in Hungary.

Prosecutors had questioned Hassan Farhoud for over 29 hours. Ten other people including witnesses were also questioned in Malta and Belgium.

READ ALSO: Islamic State commander charged in Budapest, Malta witnesses questioned

A joint investigation with the involvement of Hungary’s counter-terrorism force, TEK, took place in several EU member states, including Malta, Belgium and Greece. Cooperation among the countries’ law enforcement agencies was coordinated by the Hungarian office of Eurojust.

According to the indictment, the man ordered multiple executions in his homeland in May 2015.

The Syrian was also granted refugee status in Greece before he was revealed to have been a prominent IS fighter.

He was caught with forged documents in Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Airport 30 December 2018, then received a suspended prison sentence for human trafficking, and was set to be expelled from the country.

But it was information obtained by Belgian intelligence that ultimately led to Hassan F.’s detention, when he was arrested by TEK officers in the Nyírbátor asylum detention facility.

According to Hungarian prosecutors, the 27-year-old man is suspected of aiding in the execution of 20 people – all family members of a resident in Homs city who refused to join the Islamic State – in 2016.

Farhoud allegedly appears in numerous propaganda videos and assisted in the orchestration of acts of terrorism.

Farhoud is suspected of having ordered the occupation of Al-Sukhnah in the Syrian province of Homs and drawing up a “death list” of those who rejected Islamic State’s goals. The executions included the public beheading of the local imam and at least 25 people including women and children in the town.

He was found guilty of having personally participated in “at least” the execution of the imam and another killing.

Farhoud’s lawyer, László Kelen, claimed the evidence was unreliable and that photographs of the crimes were not clear. Kelen described his client as “illiterate and uneducated.”

The Hungarian prosecutor had argued for life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Budapest Municipal Court on Thursday sentenced Farhoud to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

He is understood to have appealed the sentence but remains in custody pending the decision of the court.