Iraq blocks US extradition for Hezbollah commander

August 6, 2012

Newsday on August 2, 2012 released the following:

“By The Associated Press LARA JAKES (Associated Press)

BAGHDAD – (AP) — An Iraqi court has rejected a request to send a Hezbollah commander to the United States for trial, a decision that likely ends the Obama administration’s push to prosecute the Lebanese militant held in Iraq for the 2007 killings of five American soldiers.

The U.S. believes Ali Mussa Daqduq is a top threat to Americans in the Middle East, and had asked Baghdad to extradite him even before two Iraqi courts found him not guilty of masterminding the 2007 raid on an American military base in the holy Shiite city of Karbala.

But the July 30 decision by the Iraqi central criminal court, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, ordered that Daqduq be freed immediately. It also makes it clear that Iraq believes the legal case against him is over.

“It is not possible to hand him over because the charges were dropped in the same case,” the three-judge panel ruled. “Therefore, the court decided to reject the request to hand over the Lebanese defendant Ali Mussa Daqduq to the U.S. judiciary authorities, and to release him immediately.”

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad declined to comment Thursday and referred questions about the case to Washington.

At the Pentagon, Defense spokesman Lt. Col Todd Breasseale said Daqduq “should be held accountable for his crimes. Period.” Breasseale said the Pentagon “will continue to work closely with the Iraqi government to explore all legal options to pursue justice in this case.”

In an AP interview last month, the national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden said the White House has asked Iraq’s highest appeals court to review and overturn its order to free Daqduq. It was not immediately clear Thursday whether that review was continuing.

Biden called Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Thursday to discuss unspecified issues between the U.S. and Iraq, according to a statement released by the premier’s office. The statement did not mention Daqduq, but Biden has been following the case closely and has asked Iraq’s government to keep the militant locked up for as long as legally possible.

Daqduq’s lawyer, Abdul-Mahdi al-Mitairi, said the militant is still being held under house arrest in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. But he said he will push to have Daqduq released before the end of Ramadan, the ongoing Muslim holy month that ends later in August.

Washington believes the Lebanese-born Daqduq worked with Iranian agents to train Shiite militias to target the U.S. military during the years of sectarian violence that gripped Iraq over the last decade. His case has illustrated the tricky aftermath of the long U.S. military campaign in Iraq that ended last year and has elements of both Iraqi and U.S. internal politics.

Daqduq was detained for more than four years by the U.S. military before it left Iraq last December. He was handed over to Iraqi authorities as required when the troops left, amid a debate between the Democratic White House and Republicans in Congress over whether high-risk terror suspects should be brought to the U.S. for trial.

Republican lawmakers said Daqduq was too much of a public threat to be incarcerated on American soil, and wanted him to be held at the contentious military detention center at the Navy base on Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. President Barack Obama refused. He has promised to close the detention center at Guantanamo, which became a worldwide symbol of detainee abuses during the Republican administration of President George W. Bush.

Since then, two Iraqi courts have cleared Daqduq of the terrorism and forgery charges that Iraq’s government lodged against him. The new court order says the Pentagon issued the extradition request but did not specify when.

Iraqi government officials privately acknowledge they have little, if any, legal basis for continuing to detain him.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

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We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Iraq here.

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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

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U.S. asks Iraq to extradite Hezbollah suspect

June 4, 2012

The West Australian on June 2, 2012 released the following:

“Phil Stewart, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has formally asked Iraq to extradite a suspected Hezbollah operative accused of killing American troops, a U.S. official told Reuters, amid heightened concerns in Washington that he may go free.

It was not immediately clear when the request was filed and Iraqi officials approached by Reuters denied knowledge of it, casting doubt on whether an extradition was seriously being considered at this point in Baghdad.

The fate of Ali Mussa Daqduq has been vexing American officials since last December, when the United States was forced to hand him over to Baghdad after failing to secure a custody deal ahead of the U.S. military’s withdrawal from the country.

At the time, the White House said it had received assurances from Baghdad that Daqduq would be tried for allegedly orchestrating a 2007 kidnapping that resulted in the killing of five U.S. military personnel. But an Iraqi court earlier this month cleared him of the charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Daqduq’s attorney confirmed that the Lebanese-born suspect remained in Iraqi custody but scoffed at the suggestion that Daqduq might face American courts.

“The Americans have no right to get him,” Abdulalmehdi al-Mutiri, Daqduq’s lawyer, told Reuters. “Whatever they claim that he did, it would have happened on Iraqi soil and that means he is under Iraqi jurisdiction.”

Indeed, there are real questions about whether Iraq – which previously shunned U.S. efforts to retain custody of Daqduq – would respond positively to an extradition request.

The White House declined comment on whether any request had been made but President Barack Obama’s government has said it will pursue all legal options to bring justice to Daqduq.

REPUBLICAN CRITICISM

Republicans have sharply criticized Obama’s handling of the case. In a May 10 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Attorney General Eric Holder, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked whether any formal extradition request had been made for Daqduq, who was born in Lebanon.

“The U.S. has filed a formal extradition request” with the Iraqi government, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s media advisor Ali al-Moussawi said he was unaware of any extradition request for Daqduq and declined to be drawn into what he saw as a hypothetical question about how the Iraqi government would respond to one.

Asked about the possibility Daqduq might soon go free, the U.S. official confirmed: “That’s a real worry.”

Daqduq was captured in March 2007 and initially claimed he was a deaf mute. U.S. forces accused him of being a surrogate for Iran’s elite Quds force operatives and say he joined the Lebanese Hezbollah in 1983.

Daqduq’s attorney said a representative of Hezbollah had come to Iraq but left “because he felt he could not do anything more.”

“But legally Daqduq is clear, there are no charges against him,” Mutiri said.

If Daqduq were extradited, he would face charges for war crimes. A second U.S. official confirmed that charges filed against Daqduq in the U.S. military commissions system earlier this year included murder, attempted murder, attempted taking of hostages, spying, and terrorism.

It was not immediately clear where the U.S. military commission trial for Daqduq would be held if he were ultimately extradited. But Panetta last year told Congress that Daqduq would face “better justice” if tried by the United States.

FBI Director Robert Mueller said last month his department would be “willing and able” to cooperate with a military commission trial if the U.S. wins custody of Daqduq.

“In the meantime, however, we have cooperated with the Iraqi authorities in providing intelligence and information for their proceedings in Iraq,” Mueller told Congress.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
International Extradition Lawyers Videos:

International Extradition – When the FBI Seeks Extradition

International Extradition – Wire Transfer – Email – Telephone Call

————————————————————–

We previously discussed the extradition treaty between the United States and Iraq here.

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

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

————————————————————–

International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

Free Skype call: mcnabb.mcnabbassociates

           Office Locations

Email: