Germany Demands Extradition of Islamist Captured by U.S. in Afghanistan

October 12, 2010

Germany is demanding the extradition of an Islamist from Hamburg, Germany, now being held in a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe said on Saturday.

Germany has already initiated proceedings to extradite the captive to Germany for trial.

Germany’s Federal Justice Ministry is responsible for issuing a formal demand for the U.S. government to hand over the German citizen, Ahmad Siddiqui, who is being held at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.

Siddiqui has been identified as one of a group of Hamburg-based Islamists who traveled to the Afghan-Pakistani border region in March 2009 to attend militant training camps.

Recent media reports of terrorist plans to attack European cities are thought to be based on information given by Siddiqui during interrogation at Bagram.

The information led countries including the U.S. and Britain to heighten their travel alerts to European capitals including Berlin.

Shortly thereafter, a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan killed eight German Islamists, according to Pakistani officials. The German government reacted cautiously to reports of the killings, last Monday.

A German news magazine has claimed that three of the killed men were known to German officials as acquaintances with several of the suicide bombers who attacked New York on September 11, 2001. They had all frequented a Hamburg mosque that was closed down in August. German officials have not confirmed this report.

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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“Daughter of the Nation” Sentenced 86 Years in Prison; Pakistanis Outraged

September 24, 2010

The country’s leaders were quick to show their outrage at the sentence handed down to a Pakistani woman convicted of attacking U.S. agents, as were opposition politicians.

The sentencing of Aafia Siddique to 86 years in an American jail left enemies and political opponents reading from the same script Friday, riding a wave of anger on behalf of a woman widely believed to be an innocent victim of a vengeful, post 9/11 American justice system.

At least 5,000 people attended the largest, and most peaceful, rally in Peshawar, where a mostly male crowd cried anti-American and jihadi slogans. In Karachi, police fired tear gas to disburse rock-throwing protesters trying to march to the U.S. Consulate. At least five people were arrested. In Islamabad, 100 people attempting to reach the U.S. Embassy scuffled with police near a five-star hotel, witnesses said.

The reaction was a reminder of the deep mistrust many Pakistanis have of the United States nine years after the two countries formed an uncomfortable alliance in the wake of the September 11 attacks. While Washington tries to impress on the country it is a long-term partner, many Pakistanis persist on seeing it as a threat.

Siddique, a 38-year-old American-educated neuroscientist, was detained in Afghanistan in 2008 by Afghan authorities. She was convicted of seizing an M4 rifle weapon from one of her U.S. interrogators there and attempting to kill them. She was severely wounded in the incidents.

Siddique and her defense lawyers deny she ever fired a weapon. Her family and supporters say she disappeared along with her three children five years before she turned up in Afghanistan and allege she was either held in a secret jail by American authorities or Pakistan’s spy agency.

U.S. and Pakistani officials have denied that, and there has been little evidence to support their claims. But they have been repeated so often they are taken as the standard version by many of her supporters and much of the media, which has largely rallied in her defense.

The claims of secret detention have resonance because Pakistani security forces have rounded up many terror suspects and handed them over to the United States in the aftermath of 9/11. Under a military ruler at the time, its government has never admitted how many people it arrested at the behest of Washington.

Such is the perceived force of public opinion, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other leading officials have had to stress their efforts over the last three years to try and get her back to Pakistan. The government spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to give her quality legal representation in New York.

There is little the government can do to get bring Siddique home. Islamabad has no agreement with the United States that allows Pakistanis convicted of crimes there to serve part of their sentences at home. A presidential pardon for Siddique looks very unlikely.

Before her arrest in Afghanistan, Siddique had been accused by the U.S. of links to al-Qaida. Prosecutors said they found her carrying notes referencing a “mass casualty attack” on New York City landmarks and a stash of sodium cyanide. But she was only ever tried in relation to the attack on her captors in Afghanistan.

Her loudest supporters have been Pakistan’s Islamist political parties and groups, which have embraced the opportunity to be seen defending a Pakistan Muslim woman as well as accusing the government of collaborating in her arrest and trial. The Pakistani Taliban, which is waging war against the Pakistani government and has killed scores of innocent men, women and children in bombings over the last three years, also spoke out in support of Aafia.

Pakistanis are now calling Siddique, “the daughter of the nation.”

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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Canadian Judge Denies U.S. Extradition Request

August 4, 2010

A Canadian indicted in the U.S. on charges he supplied al-Qaida with weapons was freed Wednesday after more than four years in jail after a judge refused to extradite him to the United States.

Abdullah Khadr, 29, has been held in Canada on a U.S. warrant since his December 2005 arrest. He is wanted in the U.S. for allegedly purchasing weapons for al-Qaida and plotting to kill Americans abroad.

The U.S. case against Khadr relied on a statement he made to the FBI and Canadian police in Pakistan, and information he gave when he arrived in Toronto in December 2005. Khadr’s lawyers argued the statements made in Pakistan were the result of torture.

Superior Court Justice Christopher Speyer ruled that the self-incriminating statement was “manifestly unreliable.”

Khadr’s father, Ahmed Said Khadr, an alleged al-Qaida militant and financier, was killed in 2003 when a Pakistani military helicopter shelled the house where he was staying with some senior al-Qaida operatives.

Khadr’s brother, Omar Khadr, is the last Western detainee held at Guantanamo Bay. Omar is accused of killing an American soldier with a grenade during a 2002 battle in Afghanistan.

Another of Khadr’s brothers, Abdurahman Khadr, has acknowledged that their Egyptian-born father and some of his brothers fought for al-Qaida and had stayed with Osama bin Laden.

The CIA paid Pakistani authorities a $500,000 bounty to detain Abdullah Khadr in October 2004. The U.S. alleges Abdullah Khadr bought AK-47 and mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and containers of mine components for al-Qaida for use against coalition forces in Afghanistan. He allegedly bought the weapons at the request of his father, authorities said.

After Pakistani intelligence officers detained Abdullah Khadr in 2004, he was returned to Canada in 2005. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested him at the request of the U.S.

Canada’s Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the government would study the ruling closely before deciding whether to appeal.

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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