Syrian national convicted of terrorism in Romania escapes authorities…again
Omar H., a Romanian national of Syrian origin and convicted terrorist, seems to have escaped the authorities after reportedly being extradited from Syria to serve a 20-year jail sentence in Romania, the local media reported, July 23.
“Syrian Omar H., who was convicted in Romania for terrorism and brought back to the country late last week, seems to be missing again,” internet news service Romania-Insider wrote. “ [Omar] H., who was convicted of terrorism in 2007, soon after managing to leave the country during a medical time off from arrest, […] is not to be found, again.”
An intriguing aspect of this investigation is that the Romanian authorities have not actually confirmed whether Omar H. reached Romania in the first place. President Traian Basescu reportedly announced that Omar H. was in Romanian custody, pending a further trial for fraud, on Friday July 19. Later in the day Basescu reportedly retracted his announcement saying that he was not in fact sure of the criminal’s whereabouts.
Bucharest police also announced that Omar H. had not been in their custody this time round. This information was then disputed by Internal Affairs which publicly confirmed that Omar H. had in fact been handed over to the police.
The suspect was convicted of kidnapping three Romanian journalists in Baghdad in 2005.Soon after the kidnapping he contacted Romanian authorities saying that he had been contacted by the kidnappers who were requesting a USD 4 mln ransom. It later transpired that the journalists were apprehended by Omar H.’s friend.
The Romanian authorities confirmed that the journalists were released 55 days after their kidnapping.
“His [Omar H.’s 2007] escape on a ship which was transporting sheep led to resignations of the chief of intelligence and of the chief prosecutor […], for having failed to monitor him after being released on medical grounds,” Romania-Insider reported.
The country remains baffled as to the actual whereabouts of the terrorist this time round.