Fake News: President Macron Did NOT Knowingly Grant ISIS Chief Political Asylum In France

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: President Macron Did NOT Knowingly Grant ISIS Chief Political Asylum In France

Did French President Emmanuel Macron knowingly grant political asylum to an ISIS chief? No, that's not exactly true. Ahmed Hamdane Mahmoud Ayach El Aswadi posed as a refugee when he arrived in France in the summer of 2016. He was granted refugee status in June 2017, shortly after Emmanuel Macron took office in May 2017. The President of France does not personally decide every individual asylum case and even if he did it he would not have known about El Aswadi's past at the time.

The story originated from an article published by YourNewsWire on June 14, 2018 titled "President Macron Grants ISIS Chief Political Asylum In France" (archived here) which opened:

French President Emmanuel Macron has granted an ISIS chief, responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, political asylum in France.

Ahmed Hamdane Mahmoud Ayach El Aswadi has been allowed to enter France without fear of arrest, despite the fact that he took part in the 2014 slaughter of 1,700 soldiers in the northern Iraqi town of Tikrit.

Express.co.uk reports: Videos and images of the unarmed cadets being beheaded, shot and choked before being dumped into unmarked graves were posted online by the jihadists, and quickly came to symbolise ISIS' senseless brutality.

The article is typical for YourNewsWire: the site usually takes one or more existing news reports and then adds some untrue or misleading facts to the headline and/or the first paragraph to make it more inflammatory so people will click and share it without thinking. In this case the real news article comes from Express:

Iraq confirms 'refugee' granted political asylum in France had key role in ISIS massacre

THE Islamic State (ISIS) chief who posed as a refugee to get political asylum in France took part in the 2014 slaughter of some 1,700 soldiers near the northern Iraqi town of Tikrit, a senior Iraqi government official said on Monday.

It notes the ISIS chief posed as a refugee and France initially granted him asylum. But once Iraq sent word through Interpol about his real identity the man was arrested and locked up and his refugee status was revoked. As Express noted:

Mr El Aswadi was finally arrested on March 6 in the northern French town of Normandy.

He is currently being held in pre-trial detention on suspicion of war crimes and murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise, among other terror charges. His protected status has since been revoked by French authorities.

The fact that such a man could evade detection for quite a long period of time is still bad and cause for alarm but implying via the headline that Macron knowingly had a hand in it is quite stretching the truth.

YourNewsWire has published several hoaxes and fake news articles in the past so anything they write or publish should be taken with a large grain of salt. Their Facebook page "The People's Voice" recently lost its verification checkmark according to a report from MMFA.

The Terms of Use of the site also make it clear they don't really stand behind the accuracy of any of their reporting:

THE PEOPLE'S VOICE, INC. AND/OR ITS SUPPLIERS MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE SUITABILITY, RELIABILITY, AVAILABILITY, TIMELINESS, AND ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION, SOFTWARE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RELATED GRAPHICS CONTAINED ON THE SITE FOR ANY PURPOSE.

The site was profiled in the Hollywood reporter where it was described as:

Your News Wire, a 3-year-old website of murky facts and slippery spin, is published by Sean Adl-Tabatabai and Sinclair Treadway -- a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2016 -- out of an apartment in L.A.'s historic El Royale.

RationalWiki described it as:

YourNewsWire (styled as YourNewsWire.com[1]) is an Los Angeles-based clickbait fake news website known for disseminating conspiracy theories and misleading information, contrary to its claimed motto ("News. Truth. Unfiltered").[1]

A while ago we also reported that YourNewsWire had rebranded itself as NewsPunch by changing its domain name in an apparent effort to evade filtering/blocking. It appears the site has changed back to it's old name in the mean time but you can still see the NewsPunch name in the contact email address in the footer.

We wrote about yournewswire.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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