US ‘hijab assassin’ wanted over botched UK hit arrested in Armenia after five-year hunt


An American woman allegedly hired to take part in the assassination of a Birmingham businessman has been arrested by police in Armenia.

Aimee Betro went on the run within days of an attempt on the life of Sikander Ali, a clothing store owner in September 2019.

She was detained in a dawn raid after being tracked down to a rented one-bedroom flat on the outskirts of Yerevan, the Armenian capital.

Armenian police said the 44-year-old, allegedly recruited by Mohammed Nazir, 30, and his father Mohammed Aslam, 56, to shoot Mr Ali, will be extradited to face criminal proceedings.

A police spokesman said: “Of course, she will be extradited to the UK as Armenia is a member of Interpol and is obligated to do so.”

Nazir and Islam were both found guilty of conspiracy to murder at Birmingham Crown Court last month. They will be sentenced next month.

Mohammed Nazir will be sentenced next month over his part in the assassination plotMohammed Nazir will be sentenced next month over his part in the assassination plot

Mohammed Nazir will be sentenced next month over his part in the assassination plot – Enterprise/West Midlands Police

The hearing was told Nazir and Aslam had held a grudge against Mr Ali’s family following a violent dispute at his boutique clothing store in Birmingham on July 21 2018. It resulted in the two men sustaining injuries and the shop windows being smashed.

Seeking revenge, the pair flew Betro from the United States to kill Mr Ali and his family, the court was told. She wore a hijab to disguise herself and stayed at a number of hotels in Birmingham, Derby, Brighton and London while she was in the UK.

On the morning of Sept 7, she allegedly tried to shoot Mr Ali outside a house in Acocks Green, Birmingham, but the gun jammed, the court heard.

She later returned to the house by taxi and fired three shots at the property before ordering the driver to take her to a McDonald’s in Bordesley Green. No one was injured.

Jurors were told that Betro fled back to her native Wisconsin two days later before going to ground.

Her mother, Jeanne Johnson, 62, appealed in The Telegraph for her daughter to hand herself in, saying: “ She has nowhere else to go. She’s got to stop running.”

Plain clothes Armenian police officers lead Aimee Betro away from her flatPlain clothes Armenian police officers lead Aimee Betro away from her flat

Plain clothes Armenian police officers lead Aimee Betro away from her flat – Mailonline

It is understood a combination of background details in Betro’s Instagram selfies and sunset photos taken from her living room window helped trace her to a gated housing complex on the northern outskirts of Yerevan.

It is thought that Armenian officers arrested her after acting on an extradition request submitted through Home Office channels by West Midlands Police.

Armenia is understood to be keen to make a good impression on the British authorities as it shifts its diplomatic focus away from the Kremlin and towards the West.

It has bought weapons from France, opened a new embassy in London overlooking Pall Mall and signalled that it wants to join the EU.

Betro is understood to have been staying in a flat with views of the snow-capped Caucasus mountains when she was arrested.

She is believed to have been working remotely from her flat, venturing outside for shopping trips but turning down invitations to socialise from her neighbours.

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