International Judges Reject US Extradition Request for Kosovo Terror Suspect

July 19, 2010

A panel of international judges on Friday decided not to extradite a Kosovo terror suspect to the United States on legal grounds and then set him free, a European Union official said.

Nicholas Hawton said the U.S. request to extradite 29-year-old ethnic Albanian Bajram Asllani did not demonstrate “well-grounded suspicions” that he plotted terrorist attacks. The panel also ruled Friday there was no valid extradition treaty between the two countries.

The extradition request was made on the basis of a 1901 treaty between the US and the former Kingdom of Serbia. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, a move that Serbia is still fighting. The three-member panel of judges that ruled Friday was helping out a local Kosovo court under EU supervision.

The judges ruled that “providing material support to terrorists” is not listed in the treaty as a criminal offense, so there were no grounds for Asllani’s extradition, said Hawton, spokesman for the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh, North Carolina, had accused Asllani, of Mitrovica, of plotting with men in North Carolina to engage in terrorism in Kosovo. The plot allegedly originated among eight people who planned attacks both at a U.S. military installation and abroad. Asllani allegedly had asked one of the U.S. suspects for money to fund a terrorist plot, prosecutors said.

The decision will now be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Kosovo. Asllani can appeal a possible decision by the Supreme Court to extradite him to the U.S., where he faces a maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted.

Kosovo is mostly Muslim, but its estimated 2 million ethnic Albanians are strongly pro-American due to the U.S.’s leading role in NATO’s 1999 bombing of Serb forces that paved the way for Kosovo to secede.

Asllani was initially arrested by Kosovo police in 2007 on suspicion of terror but then released for lack of evidence. He was convicted in absentia by a Serbian court in September 2009 for planning terrorist-related offenses and was sentenced to eight years.

Last month, he was arrested again in Kosovo in connection with the North Carolina case.

International agreements concluded when Kosovo was not an independent country are endorsed by Kosovo’s Constitutional Court. But Kosovo’s constitution forbids the extradition of its citizens to other countries without a prior bilateral agreement.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Arrest in Kosovo; US Extradition Pending

June 22, 2010

Bajram Asllani, 29, a resident of Mitrovica, Kosovo, on Friday was charged in a criminal complaint with providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons abroad, as well as plotting an attack on a U.S. Marine base in Virginia, according to a report obtained by the Internationational Association of Chiefs of Police’s Terrorism Committee.

Asllani, a/k/a “Bajram Aslani” or “Ebu Hatab,” was arrested earlier on Friday by authorities in Kosovo in connection with a U.S. provisional arrest warrant issued in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The United States intends to seek his extradition from Kosovo to stand trial in Raleigh.

Last July, eight individuals were indicted in the Eastern District of North of Carolina on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad; and other violations.

Those charged were Daniel Patrick Boyd, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; Hysen Sherifi, a native of Kosovo and a U.S. legal permanent resident in North Carolina; Anes Subasic, a naturalized U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; Zakariya Boyd, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; Dylan Boyd, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; Jude Kenan Mohammad, a U.S. citizen; Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina; and Ziyad Yaghi, a U.S. citizen and resident of North Carolina.

A superseding indictment returned on September 24, 2009, added new charges against Daniel Patrick Boyd, Hysen Sherifi and Zakariya Boyd, alleging, among other things, that Daniel Boyd and Sherifi conspired to murder U.S. military personnel as part of a plot to attack troops at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. The three accused were also charged with possession of weapons in furtherance of a crime of violence and Daniel Boyd was further charged with providing a firearm to a convicted felon.

An April 19, 2010, criminal complaint unsealed on Friday alleges that Asllani was a member of the conspiracy involving the defendants listed above. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Asllani has had repeated communications with the conspirators; solicited money from the conspirators to establish a base of operations in Kosovo for the purpose of waging violent jihad; tasked the conspirators with completing work to further these objectives and accepted funds from the conspirators to help him travel.

Among other things, the complaint alleges that Hysen Sherifi departed from Raleigh for Pristina, Kosovo, on July 30, 2008, to pursue violent jihad. While in Kosovo, Sherifi allegedly formed a relationship with Asllani. According to the complaint, Asllani had been arrested by Kosovar law enforcement in 2007 and been placed on house arrest for a period of time. He was later convicted in absentia by a Serbian court in September 2009 for planning terrorist-related offenses and was sentenced to eight years of confinement.

According to the complaint, Asllani provided Sherifi with videos related to violent jihad for the purposes of translating them so they could be used to recruit others for violent jihad or to motivate those currently involved in violent jihad. Sherifi, did in fact, translate videos provided him by Asllani, the complaint alleges.

The complaint also alleges that Asllani directed Sherifi to collect money for the purpose of later purchasing land and establishing a community in Kosovo, where they could store weapons and ammunition and which they could use as a base of operations for conducting violent jihad in Kosovo and other countries. Sherifi did, in fact, return to the United States on April 5, 2009, and collected money for this purpose, receiving a check for $15,000 in July 2009. Sherifi was arrested on July 27, 2009, before he could take the money back to Asllani in Kosovo.

In addition, the complaint alleges Asllani received money from Sherifi that was sent with the intention of being used by Asllani to obtain travel documents. In addition, the complaint alleges that Daniel Boyd stated his desire to assist Sherifi in his plan to raise money for the mujihadeen in Kosovo.

In accordance with the extradition agreement between the United States and Kosovo, Asllani faces a potential maximum of 40 years in prison if convicted.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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