An east London man - who is suspected of involvement in the kidnap of a British journalist in Syria - has been transferred to Iraq by American forces where he could face trial and the death penalty. Nero Saraiva, a Portuguese citizen who became a permanent resident of the UK, is believed by officials to be one of "the most high value suspected ISIS detainees" anywhere in the world.
Saraiva was held by Kurdish forces in Syria following his arrest last year during the battle for Baghouz. But during the past few weeks he was secretly brought across the border to Iraq.
He could face trial there, or be extradited to Portugal.
Prosecutors in Lisbon believe he was behind a recruitment network of Jihadists that helped to find young men from Portugal and the UK and deliver them to the battlefield in Syria. Saraiva is among eight men charged by Portuguese authorities for helping to recruit fighters for so-called Islamic State.
He is also suspected of having links to the abduction of British journalist John Cantlie, who was kidnapped in 2012. Mr Cantlie’s whereabouts remains unknown. Also of being one of the group of jihadists known as 'the Beatles' whose leader was Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John.
Saraiva travelled to Syria in 2012 where he is alleged to have continued organising a recruitment operation using friends who stayed behind in Europe and money raised in London through fraud.
The network targeted young men in Lisbon and London, including one "petty criminal" who was arrested during the riots in 2011 - according to an investigation carried out by ITV News in conjunction with Portuguese magazine SÁBADO.
Cassimo Ture, another suspected member of the alleged cell, is living freely in east London. When approached by ITV News this week he said he knew nothing about the allegations made by Portuguese prosecutors. "I don’t know Nero, I don’t know this dude," he said. Watch the video; the reporter follows him down streets I once knew quite well.
Saraiva, who used the alias Abu Yaqub al-Andalusi, was captured after escaping Islamic State group's so-called "Caliphate" before its territorial defeat last spring.
He was questioned by American interrogators while in Kurdish custody. His next steps are unclear, but Portuguese authorities could ask for him to be returned to Lisbon to face trial there, rather than Iraq.
In 2018, ITV News revealed that Nero Saraiva attended a so-called Islamic State commander's "call to arms" in Syria during the early days of the terror group. Foreign fighters were ordered to play a lead role in the fight for territory.
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