January 3, 2017 | 3:30 PM

Militant who denounced Islamic State faces murder, war crimes charges

January 3, 2017 | 3:30 PM
ISIS, Terrorism January 3, 2017

An Islamic State defector who claimed in news interviews to have refused to commit violence for the group has been charged by German authorities with murder and war crimes for his role in a mass execution in Syria in 2015.

Harry Sarfo, a 28-year-old German citizen, appeared in front page articles and television broadcasts last year in which he offered a sanitized version of his involvement with the Islamic State and condemned the group’s tactics.

But his account began to unravel last year after The Washington Post obtained and published a video that showed Sarfo helping to move prisoners into position for a public execution in the ancient city of Palmyra, and apparently firing his own weapon as the men fell in a barrage of machine-gun fire.

Sarfo’s case highlighted the challenge facing European security services as they evaluate hundreds of returning fighters, many of whom have sought to obscure their ties to the Islamic State and involvement in violence.

The German federal prosecutors office in Karlsruhe issued a statement Tuesday announcing the new charges against Sarfo.

“The accused, who was armed with a pistol, personally took one of the detainees to the execution spot and prevented the others from escaping,” the statement from German officials said, according to a report by Reuters.

Sarfo, who is of Ghanaian descent, had been serving a three-year sentence at a prison in Bremen after being convicted on lesser charges of belonging to a terrorist organization and violating German weapons laws.

But German authorities opened a new investigation after the release of the video, which was captured by Islamic State propaganda teams and provided to The Washington Post by an individual with ties to the group.

Sarfo had repeatedly denounced the Islamic State in interviews from prison that were approved by German authorities. He told German investigators that he had “said no to the killings” in Palmyra and made more categorical claims to news organizations.

“I refused. I did not raise my hand,” Sarfo told the German broadcaster ZDF last year. ZDF worked with The Washington Post on follow-up reporting about Sarfo’s account after the new video surfaced.

(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Greg Miller, Souad Mekhennet / Featured Image via The Independent

#breaking now

  • [BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY]

    As giant ice cracks spread around it, an Antarctic research station is forced to close for winter

    The Halley VI Research Station in Antarctica, positioned on a floating ice shelf jutting into the Weddell Sea, will…

    Breaking News

    Gambia’s Jammeh imposes state of emergency

    Gambian President Yahya Jammeh declared a 90-day state of emergency two days before he’s supposed hand over power to…

    [Photo source: WCYB]

    A boy was sexually abused in a janitor’s closet. Is the school responsible?

    Bobby Gobble was a janitor at Lebanon Elementary School when he began luring a boy to the custodian’s office…

    C2ZcObXXAAAZAW4

    LIVE VIDEO: Trump Accuser Holds Press Conference

    Gloria Allred holds a press conference where a woman is suing Trump for sexually inappropriate contact

    Noor Salman, the wife of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen w CREDIT

    Wife of Orlando shooter ‘would have run away’ had she known her husband’s plan, uncle says

    OAKLAND, Calif. – Noor Salman, the wife of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, “would have run away” had she…

    [FOX NEWS]

    More than 50 Democratic lawmakers now skipping Trump’s inauguration | FULL LIST

    A growing group of Democratic lawmakers will boycott President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday to protest what they described as…

    16003213_10154342094217106_4800527084803592187_n

    Columbus Zoo Announces the Death of Colo, World’s Oldest Zoo Gorilla

    Colo, the first gorilla born in a zoo and the matriarch of the Columbus Zoo’s famous gorilla family died…

    Trump rally w CREDIT

    Trump in for ‘raw’ conditions when he takes the oath of office

    It’s going to rain on Donald Trump’s parade. About the time Trump raises his right hand Friday at noon…