Thursday, 1 January, 2009

Iraqi Man Arrested at Border, Accused of Spying for Saddam

By Jenny Rizzo

Jan. 1, 2009: A man suspected of being a spy for former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was in a Buffalo courtroom today. Mouyad Mahmoud Darwish will now be extradited to Maryland to face federal charges. He was arrested on Christmas Eve while trying to cross the Peace Bridge when border agents discovered that he was a wanted man.

Darwish lived in the United States for several years dating back to 2000 during the Iraq war. The U.S. government says that during that time, he worked as an informant for the Iraqi Intelligence Service, feeding Saddam's Ba'ath Party information about our troops. Today's hearing in federal court was about whether or not he should remain detained.

47-year-old Darwish tried to cross the Peace Bridge with his wife and three kids. But instead of being allowed in, he was arrested without a warrant. An Affidavit in Support of the Criminal Complaint indicates that the FBI has been investigating Darwish since 2003. "This is a case involving allegation of an individual who has been spying for Iraq,"

The FBI says Darwish, while he was living in Maryland, was working as a paid informant for the Iraqi Intelligence Service, Saddam's equivalent of the FBI. Darwish allegedly told them that Iraqi volunteers were being trained by the US military in Virginia.

"When there are credible allegations, the U.S. law enforcement, in its role in attempting to safeguard our country, is going to take those allegations seriously," said Brown.

The U.S. Government wants Darwish to remain detained because if he were released on bond and allowed to return to Canada where he is now a citizen, then he could avoid facing charges in federal court. "Because that is not a crime in the Canadian Criminal Code, he would not be extraditable from Canada," said Brown.

Federal Court Judge Hugh Scott ruled today that Darwish should remain detained and he is to be transferred to Maryland, where there are charges pending against him in U.S. District Court. He is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshall's Service.


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