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cartel pal Lawyers for Kinahan-linked gangster in jail for murder call for probe into possible 'Iran' link

Naoufal Fassih (36) a Dutch national of Moroccan origin, is currenty in jail for organising the murder of an Iranian dissident in the Netherlands

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Naoufal Fassih

Naoufal Fassih

Naoufal Fassih

Lawyers for a Kinahan-linked gangster serving a life sentence in the Netherlands for a political dissident’s murder have called for an investigation into the possible involvement of Iran in the hit.

Naoufal Fassih (36) a Dutch national of Moroccan origin, is currenty in jail for organising the murder of an Iranian dissident in the Netherlands.

Fassih was arrested during a raid on a Kinahan-linked safe-house on Baggot St, Dublin, in 2016 and extradited to Holland where he was jailed for various offences.

Fassih was a leading member of a Dutch gang along with Chilean trafficker Ricardo ‘El Rico’ Riquelme Vega who was jailed for 11 years this week and Ridouan Taghi, who is currently on trial for organised crime offences.

The trio had strong links to the Kinahan cartel.

Fassih had been hiding out in Dublin with the assistance of the cartel as he was wanted in the Netherlands in relation to gangland offences.

He was later sentenced to 18 years behind bars for ordering a gun attack on Dutch national Peter Raap who survived the shooting.

In 2019 he was jailed for life for the organising the December 2015 murder of Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi – an Iranian dissident living in the Netherlands.

Samadi, who was a member of the Mujahedeen-Khalq opposition movement, was convicted in absentia of the 1981 bombing of Iran’s Islamic Republic Party headquarters which claimed 73 lives,

He travelled to the Netherlands as a political refugee using the false identity Ali Motamed in the 1980s.

He was shot in the head outside his home Dutch town of Almere, where was married and working as an electrician.

Dutch authorities suspect the Iranian regime ordered the murder but never produced any evidence. They expelled two Iranian diplomats from the Netherlands in 2018 and this was believed to be linked to Samadai’s murder and the murder of another Iranian man Ahmad Nissi in 2017 in The Hague.

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The Iranian regime has previously been accused of hiring criminal gangs to carry out assassinations on their behalf.

On Friday lawyers for Fassih, who is appealing his conviction, requested an investigation for the possible involvement of Iran in the assassination.

A preparatory hearing was held in a fortified court known as “De Bunker” located near Amsterdam airport where his lawyers insist that the Dutch Public Prosecution Service speak to Dutch intelligence service AVID about what information they have on the killing.

Fassih spoke at the hearing saying: “Can you also specifically ask the AIVD if I have anything to do with it?’’.

While it was previously reported that AVID had seen strong indications of an Iran connection in the murder, Fassih’s lawyers said: “We cannot wait passively in this case. Perhaps more is now known to AVID.’’

The court will rule on whether to let the investigation go ahead on July 2 but the full hearing is not due to take place until next year.

Fassih’s request came days after his close pal El Rico was jailed for operating an assassination ring and laundering drug money.

Messages recovered from an encrypted phone gardai seized from Fassih in Dublin were used as part of the trial.

The trial heard evidence that Vega had exchanged phone messages organising gangland murders with jailed drug boss Ridouan Taghi.

Judges were also told how Dubai-based Kinahan was in a video on a phone seized from El Rico following his arrest and extradition to Holland from Chile in 2017 that also featured Italian fugitive Raffaele Imperiale and another unidentified man.

Taghi is currently on trial in the Netherlands for allegedly organising seven murders.

He had on the run from Dutch authorities for years until his arrest in late 2019 in Dubai, where he had previously been a guest at Daniel Kinahan’s wedding in the seven-star Burj al Arab hotel in 2017.

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