The case of an ISIS member who claims he was spying for Denmark despite his financial records has been dismissed
A court in Copenhagen has rejected a lawsuit brought by a jailed ISIS member who, according to bank data, was a spy for Denmark.
Ahmed Samsam, a 34-year-old Dane of Syrian descent, has dazzled the Scandinavian nation in his years-long quest to force Danish intelligence to admit he is a secret agent.
The Supreme Court in eastern Denmark said on Wednesday that his claims that he provided information about foreign fighters when they were in Syria between 2013 and 2014 could not be tested in court.
The court said it would not rule on whether his claims of working for the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) and the Danish Military Intelligence Service (FE) were true.
In court, the agencies refused to confirm or deny that Samsam, who intends to appeal, worked for them, saying they could not discuss the identities of their informants.
Danish media investigations, based on anonymous sources and evidence of bank transfers, have supported Samsam’s claims that he was sent to Syria with money and equipment provided by PET and FE.
The former head of news at Berlingske newspaper told the court at an earlier hearing that the then head of the federation had asked him to make informal contacts with Samsam’s lawyers.
But the court said Samsam had no “legal interest” in the hearing, and rejected arguments that a court victory in Denmark would help overturn his 2018 conviction for belonging to ISIS in Spain.
Samsam, who has a lengthy criminal record separate from his terrorism conviction in Spain, claims he traveled to Syria of his own volition in 2012 to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
After returning to Denmark later that year, he was imprisoned for an unrelated crime. While serving his sentence, he told the court that Danish spies approached him.
He returned to Syria to rejoin rebel soldiers in 2013 and 2014 with money and equipment to gather intelligence on Danish foreign fighters for PET and FE.
Samsam claims that his relationship with the intelligence services ended in 2015 after he refused to join ISIS, of which he insists he was never a member.
In 2017, he went to Spain after becoming a victim of gang threats in Denmark.
While he was there, Spanish police arrested him and found photos of him on Facebook carrying an ISIS flag.
In 2018, a Spanish court sentenced him to eight years in prison on charges of belonging to ISIS.
During his trial, he said he was a Danish spy, but neither PET nor FE confirmed this to Spanish prosecutors.
Samsam was transferred to a Danish prison in December 2020 after more than three years in Spain and his sentence was reduced to six years.
Hoping that official confirmation that he was an agent would help him overturn the Spanish conviction, Samsam filed a lawsuit against the intelligence agencies.
After six hearings, the Supreme Court dismissed the case, arguing that a Danish ruling in his favor would be enough to reopen the Spanish case.
Samsam’s lawyer, Erbil Kaya, said he would appeal the ruling to the Danish Supreme Court.
He added: “He is disappointed, but today’s ruling changes nothing about the possibility of reopening the case in Spain, as this case would likely have been appealed regardless of the ruling.”
In August, Lasse Lund Madsen, a law professor at Aarhus University, said: “Probably most people in Denmark who followed the case now believe that Samsam was sent to Syria in agreement with the Danish intelligence services.
“This has been personally confirmed by sources in the intelligence world.”
The case came to light amid a series of scandals involving the two Danish intelligence services, including leaks of top-secret state secrets.
Last week, Denmark dropped charges against a former defense minister and former intelligence chief over allegations of leaks.