NEWS

Paris Attacker's Syrian Passport 'Could Be Fake,' Human Rights Watch Says

15/11/2015 12:49 | Updated 16 November 2015

A human rights campaigner has appealed to Europe not to "shut the door" on the hundreds of thousands migrants and refugees trying to flee war and violence, after one of the terrorists who attacked Paris was reported to have used the same route.

The passport found on one of the terrorists, which was used to enter Greece last month on the same trail refugees have used, could be a fake, Human Rights Watch's Peter Bouckaert also claimed.

One of the two men who blew themselves up at the Stade de France was found with the passport which was used to enter the Greek island of Leros on October 3.

The claim the passport was used on the route so many migrants use was quickly jumped on by people who have argued Europe should restrict the number of people fleeing Africa and the Middle East in the largest movement of people since the Second World War.

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A man carries his child as migrants and refugees cross the Greek-Macedonian border near Gevgelija on Sunday

Mr Bouckaert, HRW's Emergencies Director, wrote that the passport appeared to not be genuine and that Europe should not "shut the door" on refugees in response.

"It appears that the Syrian passport found next to the body of one of the attackers in Paris is a fake passport," he wrote.

"Such fake Syrian passports are widely available in Turkey, and are often bought by non-Syrians trying to get to EU because Syrians get preferential treatment on the journey."

He continued: "The answer to the Paris attacks and the possibility that one of the attackers came by rubber dinghy to Greece, where he was registered on Leros Island, is not to shut the door on those desperately fleeing war in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan--including many fleeing from IS.

peter bouckaert

Peter Bouckaert said a 'coherent EU asylum policy' would address security concerns people had about the number of refugees

"The answer is to put in place a coherent EU asylum policy that provides those fleeing war and repression with safe and legal alternatives to get that asylum, without having to risk their lives.

"Replacing the chaos with coherent policies would address both the responsibility to give asylum to those in need, and the security concerns raised by chaotic and uncontrolled flows.

"People fleeing war need refuge. And trying to build fences and stopping them at sea only drives them deeper into the hands of criminal gangs, and drives them underground where there is no control over who comes and goes."

Press reaction to the Paris attacks tied them to the refugee crisis, raising the prospect that it could lead to Europe taking fewer in.

The Mail On Sunday and The Sunday Times both splashed on this angle today.

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sunday times front

The other man who attacked the stadium had an Egyptian passport.

French citizen Ismael Omar Mostefai, who was "blacklisted" by police in 2010 due to extremism, has been named as one of the terrorists behind the Bataclan concert attack that killed 89 of the 129 people who died in the massacre.

Mayor of Chartres, Jean-Pierre Gorges, named Mostfai as one of the seven suspects who carried out Friday night's bombing and shooting attacks.

All seven attackers were killed.

The 29-year-old was identified by his fingertip which was discovered after he detonated a suicide vest inside the Bataclan, French newspaper Le Monde reported.

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