Netherlands extradites Somali to US

Posted on 12/08/2011


The Netherlands has extradited a Somali national to the United States where he was wanted on terror charges, the justice ministry said on Friday.

“We extradited Mr Omar on Thursday at the request of the American authorities,” said ministry spokesman Wim van der Weegen. The ministry did not give his full name.

Omar was arrested at the request of US authorities in November 2009 when he was staying at a centre for asylum seekers at Dronten in the north of the country.

The United States suspects him of financing arms purchases for “young terrorists” from Somalia living in the US state of Minnesota, public prosecutors said at the time of his arrest.

Van der Weegen said Dutch courts had “no legal objections to his extradition”. “Nor did the justice minister (Ivo Opstelten) on political grounds,” he added.

Omar, who was 43 at the time of his arrest, is also suspected of helping the youths from Minnesota to join training camps of the Islamist Shebab rebels in Somalia in 2007 and 2008 to take part in the group’s “holy war”.

He was remanded in custody after his arrest in 2009 and transferred to a detention centre pending a decision on the extradition request. Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the prosecution, said the Dutch decision had already been made last year.

Asked why extradition proceedings took almost two years, de Bruin said: “it depends on whether or not the person is opposed to them”.

Prosecutors said Omar lived in Minneapolis before leaving the United States in November 2008. He went to The Netherlands a month later asking for asylum. Dutch newspaper Trouw said he risked life imprisonment in the United States.


August 12, 2011