Court: Norway Islamist can be extradited to Italy
The Oslo District Court on Wednesday sided with the Norwegian Police Security Service and ruled that infamous Norway-based fundamentalist preacher Najmuddin Ahmad Faraj, better known as Mullah Krekar, can be extradited to Italy to face terror charges.
Krekar's lawyer, Brynjar Meling, filed an immediate appeal against the decision.
“The District Court has been wrong before and will be wrong again. This decision will be appealed to the Court of Appeals,” he told VG.
Meling has accused PST of passively accepting the Italian allegations that the Krekar and a 42-year-old Iraqi who resides in Drammen are involved in the international terrorist organization Rawti Shax, an offshoot of the jihadist group Ansar al-Islam.
PST's police attorney Signe Kathrine Aalling said in court that although the security service did not have possession of all the Italian investigation material, they believe that the material meets the conditions for extraditing the two men
Krekar was arrested in November of last year, along with a number of men in several countries in Europe, in a coordinated action ordered by the Italian police. Italian authorities claim that Krekar, who came to Norway in 1991, is the leader of Rawti Shax and have requested his extradition on charges that he is behind terrorist plots.
Both Meling and 42-year-old defender Solveig Høgtun have been highly critical of the PST for refusing to hand over more of the evidence they posses. Both lawyer argue that any legal proceedings against the two men should be held in Norway.
Oslo District Court Judge Jannicke Johannesen challenged PST in court over why the case could not be prosecuted in Norway, saying that extradition agreements typically apply to the country where the criminal offence took place.
PST attorney Aalling responded by saying that it is not clear whether the offence had been committed in Norway or Italy, as long as the alleged terror cell took shape in Italy but was coordinated in Norway.
Krekar recently sued Norway after being acquitted on charges that he made death threats during a television interview last year. In an interview with broadcaster NRK, he said among other things that “whoever insults our religion must know that one of us will die.”
Those comments came in the same interview in which he praised the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks in Paris and were made just one month after he finished a two year and ten month prison sentence for his 2012 conviction on charges that he threatened Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
The 59-year-old Krekar, a former guerilla leader from northern Iraq, has been in the Norwegian court system 60 times since relocating to the country.