A Somali man fighting extradition to the U.S. on terrorism charges has argued in a Dutch court that he is innocent and should be released.
Mohamud Said Omar is accused of providing money to the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab. It is also alleged that around 20 youths of Somali descent have traveled to Somalia from the United States since 2007 to help the group. This group is believe by U.S. authorities to engage in terrorist activities.
Omar was arrested at the request of the U.S. government in November of 2009. Since that time he has been held in a high-security Dutch prison. Although he has residency in the U.S., he had been living in a center for would-be asylum seekers in the Netherlands for nearly a year prior to his arrest.
There has been 14 people charged in ongoing U.S. federal investigations into the travels of young men traveling to Somalia to fight over a period of two years starting in 2007. These individuals are alleged of activities that include recruiting and raising funds for the trips, engaging in terrorist acts in Somalia, and perjury.
In the extradition request, U.S. officials state that they plan to charge Omar with providing or conspiring to provide “material support to a foreign terrorist organization,” and “conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure.” However, it has been argued that the specific acts Omar is said to have committed would not be considered crimes in the Netherlands. Under the principle of dual criminality, the crimes upon which one would be extradited must be a crime in both the country requesting the extradition and the country requested to extradite the one accused of the crime. If it is not a crime in both countries and there is dual criminality langauge in the extradition treaty, then the requested state does not have to extradite the individual.
Although an initial ruling in the case should be forthcoming in the next few weeks, Omar’s extradition is not likely for many months at the earliest.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or at one of the offices listed above.