Dutch terrorism suspect fights extradition to US

AP News
Posted: Nov 25, 2011 7:46 AM
Dutch terrorism suspect fights extradition to US

A lawyer for a Dutch man wanted by the U.S. on suspicion of trying to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan and for allegedly aiding al-Qaida said Friday he has appealed to the Netherlands' Supreme Court to prevent his client's extradition.

The 24-year-old suspect, identified under Dutch privacy laws only as "Sabir K.," was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on June 22. But his extradition case was held behind closed doors in the Netherlands and no information about it was released until his lawyer Andre Seebregts sought publicity.

He said Sabir K. is invoking his right to remain silent about his guilt or innocence.

"He's not talking. He may if it ever gets that far," Seebregts said.

Sabir K., a citizen of both the Netherlands and Pakistan, claims he was tortured for months in Pakistan before being deported to the Netherlands in April. He was arrested upon arrival and has been held in a high-security detention center since then.

Seebregts' Supreme Court appeal points to rulings by Canadian courts in a case he says is similar. The courts ruled that suspect Abdullah Khadr cannot be extradited to face charges in the U.S. because the most important evidence against him was a confession obtained under torture in Pakistan.

Seebregts said he is attempting to gather evidence to back Sabir K.'s assertions. The court won't rule until sometime next year.

In an unusual move, the Dutch Foreign Ministry has released a statement saying that the Dutch consul in Pakistan visited Sabir K. twice while he was in detention and saw no signs of abuse, though it noted he was blindfolded coming and going to the visits.

The foreign ministry rejected claims by Sabir K. that the Dutch government assisted U.S. authorities by luring him to the Netherlands with false promises he would be freed once he left Pakistani soil. A Dutch consular worker accompanied him to the airplane.

"Warning people who are suspected of criminal acts that they may be prosecuted is not part of consular assistance," the ministry said in a statement.

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The actual charges against Sabir K. are summarized in Dutch in an Oct. 3 ruling by the Rotterdam District Court that was made available to The Associated Press upon request. A spokeswoman for the court could not say why the ruling was not published on the court's website, as is standard practice.

According to the Dutch summary, the indictment issued by U.S. attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York said Sabir K. worked for and with al-Qaida between 2004 and 2010. It says he tried to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, including planning a suicide attack on a U.S. military base in Kunar province in 2010. He was also charged with possession and use of guns and "destructive material," presumably explosives, during attacks on U.S. troops.

The summarized indictment does not say whether any of Sabir K.'s alleged attacks actually succeeded.