European police launch ‘most wanted’ list

January 29, 2016 5:01 pm
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A selection of Europe's most wanted criminal suspects/FILE
A selection of Europe’s most wanted criminal suspects/FILE
The Hague, Jan 29 – European police forces Friday launched a “most wanted” website of 45 notorious criminal suspects, including Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in last year’s Paris attacks.

“The website will share information on high-profile internationally-wanted criminals, convicted of — or suspected of having committed — serious crimes or terrorist acts in Europe,” Europol said.

“This is the first initiative on a pan-European level to jointly present a most wanted list on a common platform,” the European police agency added in a statement.

People are encouraged to provide tip-offs — anonymously if they want — at www.eumostwanted.eu

The site’s launch comes after sharp criticism of the coordination between European authorities in the wake of the November 13 jihadist Paris attacks in which 130 people were killed.

Despite some of the assailants being sought by police they managed to cross into France unnoticed. Abdeslam fled back across the border to Belgium hours after the mass killings, after passing through a police checkpoint.

– ‘Increasing security’ –

Europol said the website aimed “at increasing security” across the European Union by having the public “help police trace Europe’s most wanted fugitives”.

Each of the nations initially involved, 23 of the 28 EU members, will select a number of key fugitives for the list, which will be regularly updated, the agency added.`

On the new website a picture of each of the suspects is prominently displayed, along with a description of the allegations against them and a phone number of the police force hunting for them.

Abdeslam, 26, is “responsible for the terrorist attacks that took place in November 2015 in France, and more precisely in Paris,” the website says.

He is described as a “very dangerous, armed individual.”

An international manhunt is underway for Abdeslam following the Paris attacks.

There is one woman on the list, Cecilia Kettunen, 29, from Finland, who is accused of “aggravated fraud of significant amount of money” without further details.

Another fugitive is Ernesto Fazzalari, 45, wanted by the Italian police as a “key figure of a mafia clan dubbed Avignone-Zagari-Viola” which is “at war with another clan”.

Described as a “ruthless killer,” he is accused of three murders.

In a few cases, a reward is offered for vital information. Some 10,000 euros ($11,000) is offered for a tip-off leading to the arrest and extradition from Kosovo of Hime Lufaj wanted by Austria for the attempted murder of a police officer in 2009.

Some of the unresolved crimes stretch back years. Romanian “yoga teacher and spiritual mentor” Gregorian Bivolaru, 63, is wanted for exploiting children and child pornography between 2002 and 2004.

“Keeping his victim in a state of servitude, he recruited an underaged yoga student, for sexual exploitation,” the website says.

Available in 17 languages, the website was launched by ENFAST1, a Europe-wide police network specialised in hunting down and arresting fugitives with Europol’s help.

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