Notorious people smuggler wanted in Europe arrested in northern Iraq

13 May 2024, 21:54

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Migrant Channel crossing incidents. Picture: PA

The UK’s National Crime Agency announced Majeed’s arrest on its X account.

One of Europe’s most notorious human smugglers has been arrested in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, security officials said.

The regional government’s security agency said it had arrested Barzan Majeed, known as “the Scorpion”, in the area of Sulaymaniyah, upon a request from Interpol and “after the exchange of intelligence information”.

He was handed over to the regional justice department, it said.

The UK’s National Crime Agency announced Majeed’s arrest on its X account – formerly known as Twitter.

The crime agency had issued an appeal for assistance in tracking Majeed down in 2022, after he was convicted in absentia in Belgium of people smuggling crimes, following a joint UK-Belgian investigation.

The agency said he had attempted to smuggle 100 migrants to the UK in small boats and trucks.

The number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats has soared in recent years as individuals fleeing war, the effects of climate change, and economic uncertainty have sought a better life in Britain.

They pay smugglers thousands of dollars for the crossing, hoping to reunite with family members or find work in a country where immigration enforcement is seen as weak and where migrant groups from all over the world can easily blend into society.

Last month, the UK Parliament approved controversial legislation allowing the government to deport to Rwanda those who enter the country illegally.

Hours later, five people, including a seven-year-old girl, died while crossing the English Channel in an overloaded inflatable boat.

Many of the would-be migrants hail from Iraqi’s northern Kurdish region.

While the region is relatively more prosperous and stable than other parts of the country, increasing unemployment and corruption issues are driving many young Kurds to undertake the dangerous journey.

In November 2021, 16 Iraqi Kurds were among a group of 27 people who died while attempting to cross the Channel.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

At least two people have died in the fire

At least two dead as Moscow defence research centre bursts into flames ‘with staff trapped inside’

Parisians along River Seine, below Cathedral Notre Dame celebrate Fête de la Musique - annual city-wide music festival each June

British woman 'gang-raped in Paris at music festival'

Jay Slater's father has urged people to come forward if they have any information on his son's disappearance

'Someone must know something': Jay Slater's father speaks out as search for missing son stretches into second week

Jay Slater's family have shared an image of what is believed to be the last sighting of him

Spanish police issue update on missing Jay Slater after family share CCTV of mystery figure believed to be teen

Jay Slater's family have shared an image of what is believed to be the last sighting of him

Missing Jay Slater's 'last sighting' in Tenerife: Family share CCTV of mystery figure believed to be teen

Hosts of Izmir Wildlife Park

Mother in 'serious condition' after being viciously mauled by wolf pack during jog through safari park

Tamayo Perry was killed in a shark attack.

Pirates of the Caribbean star mauled to death by shark while surfing in Hawaii

Debbie Duncan with Jay Slater

'I hope I'm not taking him home in a body bag': Jay Slater's mum feels 'let down' by conspiracy theories about her son

Barcelona is set to crack down on Airbnbs

Barcelona announces plans to ban holiday rentals for tourists from 2028

Hungary's Kevin Csoboth, bottom, shoots past Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn, top, during a Group A match between Scotland and Hungary at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, Sunday, June 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Scotland knocked out of Euro 2024 following Hungary's 100th-minute goal as collision sees star stretchered off

Terror in Russia: Gunmen open fire at two synagogues killing six police before slitting priest's throat at Orthodox Church

Terror in Russia: Gunmen open fire at synagogue and Orthodox churches killing 15 police officers

Detective who probed Nicola Bulley offers services to Jay Slater's family as search for teen enters its second week

Investigator who probed Nicola Bulley offers services to Jay Slater's family as search targets remote buildings

M50 motorway Dublin

'Miracle' as schoolboy, 12, 'lucky to be alive' after toppling from toilet of moving coach onto motorway


Jay Slater's father and brother make emotional pleas for return of the missing teenager

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Jay Slater's mum issues desperate plea after Spanish police reject help in search for missing Brit

Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelensky has reportedly slammed Nigel Farage for his controversial comments about the West provoking the invasion of the country.

Zelensky says Farage 'infected by Putinism' as Reform leader doubles down on Ukraine comments