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Johan-Mathias Sommarström reporting from Kurkuk. Photo: Swedish Radio

"I submitted myself to the caliphate" – Exclusive interview with IS leader’s captured chauffeur

"You would have been decapitated"
10 min

In Iraq, captured terrorists have provided the Iraqi and Kurdish forces with crucial information for understanding how the so-called Islamic State thinks and operates.

Swedish Radio's Middle East correspondent Johan-Mathias Sommarström was granted an exclusive interview in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk with a captured Islamic State member, who voluntarily agreed to be interviewed under the watchful eye of security guards.

Swedish: ”Jag underkastade mig till kalifatet” – Unikt möte med IS-ledarens chaufför

Arabic: لقد بايعت الخليفة" – لقاء فريد مع سائق احد قادة تنظيم الدولة الاسلامية"

His name is Yasir, and he was the private chauffeur for one of the most powerful Islamic State leaders in the Kirkuk province.

Yasir is kept inside a detention centre that's been refurbished to accommodate captured members of the terrorist organisation known as the Islamic State. Security is tight. The area is confined by high concrete walls with barbed wire on top. Several soldiers armed with machine guns guard the labyrinth-like entrance, which is designed to keep vehicles containing suicide bombers from entering the area.

Once past all the layers of walls, a beautiful courtyard orchard opens up, with the sun shining in. A stark contrast to the dark building where the prisoners are kept.

Our correspondent Johan-Mathias Sommarström is shown into a room where he waits for the prisoner to be brought in. The wait is filled with suspense – he's about to meet a member of the organisation that has taken part in bestial murders, which has captured thousands of people, and which has kidnapped, plundered, tortured and raped...

English adaptation and narration: Karin Nilsson

Yasir will face trial within a few weeks. The prosecutor thinks he will be convicted to 15 years imprisonment.


Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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