“Extradited Briton Babar Ahmad admits terrorism offences”

December 10, 2013

BBC on December 10, 2013 released the following:

By: Dominic Casciani

“A British man who spent eight years fighting extradition to the US has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.

Babar Ahmad, 39, from south London, admitted conspiracy and providing material to support to terrorism and faces up to 25 years in jail.

He admitted the offences in a plea agreement hearing in a federal court hearing in New Haven, Connecticut.

A second British man, Syed Talha Ahsan, is also expected to enter related guilty pleas later.

Both men were extradited to the US in October last year. Ahmad’s eight-year battle against extradition was a record for a British citizen and he had thousands of supporters.

Ahmad appeared in the New Haven District Court wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. He did not change two separate pleas of not guilty that he had previously entered to charges of conspiracy to kill and money laundering.

District Judge Janet Hall said she would review Ahmad’s admissions before sentencing on 4 March 2014. The plea agreement means that Ahmad faces a reduced sentence – although the prosecution is still seeking 25 years.

US authorities say that at the heart of the case against both of the men was a website and terrorism support cell network that Ahmad oversaw in London. He was accused of providing logistical and financial support to Muslim fighters in Afghanistan.

In the plea agreement, released by the court, Ahmad states that “he solicited and conspired to provide funds [and] personnel for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan” and that he and others “recruited men to travel to Afghanistan for mujahedeen training and sought out gas masks to send abroad.”

Ahmad launched Azzam publications in the late 1990s as probably the first website promoting jihadist thought in English. It went on to play a pivotal role in propagating the political ideology at a critical point in its development and growth in the West.

The site was shut down within weeks of 9/11 – but in practice much of its content lived on in other forms.

Sajid Badat, a British man who renounced extremism after plotting to blow up a plane, told investigators that he had first been radicalised by Ahmad.

The ringleader of the 7 July London bombers had copies of some of Azzam’s texts on martyrdom – and his will was partly a copy of a document first published on the website.

Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan tried to avoid extradition on the basis that the website’s activities were conducted in the UK, where neither man had been charged or prosecuted for terrorism offences.

But although part of the US case against the men was based on investigations by the Metropolitan Police, the website was technically based in the US and it appealed for support from American and Canadian Muslims.

Ahmad’s campaign to stay in the UK led to more than 100,000 people signing an official government e-petition in an attempt to get a debate in Parliament.

Shortly before he lost his extradition battle, BBC News interviewed him in prison. During that interview, Ahmad denied supporting al-Qaeda inspired terrorism in the West, such as 9/11 and 7/7.

Cageprisoners, a campaign group that supported Babar Ahmad’s battle against extradition, said the plea bargain was “a result of him being stuck within a justice system that offers no way out.”

Moazzam Begg, the group’s outreach director, said: “We must be careful against seeing this as an admission of guilt. Babar had little choice but to make this decision after finding himself amid torturous conditions within the impossible labyrinth of US injustice.

“This episode is a damning indictment of a system that does not rest until it saps its victims´ hope and tramples their dignity underfoot.””

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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 the United Kingdom 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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Judge Ponders Canadian Man’s Extradition to the United States

October 17, 2012

ABC News on October 17, 2012 released the following:

EDMONTON, Alberta
Associated Press

“A judge will rule Friday whether to extradite a Canadian man to the United States on charges that he helped coordinate Tunisian jihadists believed responsible for separate suicide attacks in Iraq in 2009 that killed five American soldiers outside a U.S. base and seven people at an Iraqi police complex.

Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, who holds dual Canadian and Iraqi citizenship, was arrested in 2011 on a U.S. warrant and has been fighting extradition to New York.

The prosecution contends that evidence from intercepted Internet and phone conversations shows that Sharif was directly involved in supporting terrorists who conducted the suicide bombings.

Sharif, 40, never left Canada as part of the alleged conspiracy. He was born in Iraq but moved to Toronto as a refugee in 1993 and became a Canadian citizen. He has also gone by other names, including Faruq Muhammad’Isa.

His lawyer, Bob Aloneissi, argued in final submissions Tuesday that the prosecution provided no clear evidence that Sharif helped support a terrorist group.

Aloneissi said Sharif’s right to legal advice was violated when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, FBI and U.S. Justice Department officials interrogated him immediately following his Jan. 19, 2011, arrest at an Edmonton apartment.

A U.S. Department of Justice investigator interviewed him with an FBI agent and a RCMP corporal present, the extradition request said. The interview “was conducted in compliance with United States law,” with Muhammad ‘Isa signing a waiver before voluntarily answering questions, it said.

During the interview, Muhammad ‘Isa admitted he corresponded by email from Canada with two of the terrorists while they were in Syria, and knew that they were on a mission to kill Americans, the paperwork says. The documents allege he corresponded with “facilitators” who were trying to get the attackers into Iraq, and wired one of them $700.

Justice Adam Germain of Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench reserved his ruling until Friday.

Germain pointed out the standard of evidence required to extradite someone is much lower than is required for use in a criminal trial.

On Monday, Germain ruled that videotaped statements that Sharif made to police during his interrogation would be admitted as evidence.

If convicted of terrorism charges in the United States, Sharif could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.”

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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 Canada 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.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

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Lawyers Seek to Block Muslim Cleric’s Extradition to U.S.

October 3, 2012

The New York Times on October 2, 2012 released the following:

“By ALAN COWELL

LONDON — Lawyers for a Muslim cleric wanted in the United States on terrorism charges said on Tuesday that the preacher, Abu Hamza al-Masri, was physically unfit to face the accusations against him and that it would be “oppressive to extradite him” under the terms of British law.

Mr. Masri, 54, has been resisting extradition since 2004. American prosecutors want him to face charges of calling for holy war in Afghanistan, involvement in kidnappings in Yemen and participating in a plot to set up a terrorism training camp in Bly, Ore.

Mr. Masri, who was born in Egypt and was notorious for fiery sermons at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, has been in prison in Britain since 2006 on separate charges, including incitement to murder.

Over the years, he has successfully avoided extradition through a series of legal hearings. But, last week, the European Court of Human Rights rejected a request for the right to appeal — a decision that British officials took as the final word permitting his extradition.

In court filings on Tuesday before a scheduled High Court hearing, Mr. Masri’s counsel, Alun Jones, said he would seek an interim injunction arguing that there is an “uncontradicted medical opinion that a scan is medically necessary” in light of the cleric’s “deteriorating health.”

If medical tests find him “unfit to plead, or arguably so, it will be argued that it would be oppressive to extradite within the meaning of” Britain’s extradition laws, Mr. Jones said according to The Press Association news agency.

The law is very clear, Mr. Jones said. “If a person is established to be unfit to plead, he should not be extradited.” But if “there is an issue” concerning fitness to plead, “he should indeed be extradited.”

Mr. Jones said a judge had referred in 2008 to Mr. Masri’s “very poor health.”

“Over four years later, it appears there has been, or may have been, a further deterioration, perhaps attributable to sleep deprivation and the continued confinement of the appellant in an unrelentingly harsh environment,” the lawyer said.

Mr. Masri, hook-handed and one-eyed from injuries many years ago, is one of five men wanted in the United States on charges ranging from murder to running a jihadist Web site. All five are seeking High Court injunctions to prevent their extradition, but none of them was expected to appear in court. Their cases will be heard by two judges over the next few days.

The four other suspects are Seyla Talha Ahsan, Adel Abdul Bary, Khaled al-Fawwaz and Babar Ahmad. Mr. Bary and Mr. Al-Fawwaz were charged with multiple murders in the 1998 bombings of the American Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed more than 200 people. Mr. Ahsan, like Mr. Ahmad, is charged with providing support to terrorists and conspiracy-related offenses.

British civil liberties activists have complained about the treatment in particular of Mr. Ahmad, 37, a computer expert accused of being a fund-raiser for terrorist causes. He has been held without charge or trial for eight years. In an unusual interview earlier this year, Mr. Ahmad declared: ‘’I have been in prison now for nearly eight years without trial. I am facing extradition to the U.S. to spend the rest of my life in solitary confinement. I have never been questioned about the allegations against me. I have never been shown the evidence against me.”

Last April, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain could legally extradite all five men. They asked for the right of appeal but that request was denied last week, triggering the latest moves at the High Court.”

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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 the United Kingdom 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.

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International criminal defense questions, but want to be anonymous?

Free Skype Tel: +1.202.470.3427, OR

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A European Court Ruled Abu Hamza al-Masri Can be Extradited to the United States to Face Terrorism Charges

September 25, 2012

The Associated Press on September 24, 2012 released the following:

“UK to extradite radical Muslim cleric to US

By SYLVIA HUI, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — A European court ruled Monday that radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri can be extradited to the United States to face terrorism charges, including allegedly trying to set up an al-Qaida training camp in rural Oregon.

The decision ends a long-running legal battle and means that al-Masri, considered one of Britain’s most notorious extremists, could be deported within weeks along with four other terrorism suspects in Britain.

Authorities in the U.S. have for years asked for Al-Masri and the others to be handed over, but the process had been delayed because the men raised human rights objections.

The men had argued before the European Court of Human Rights that they could face prison conditions and jail terms in the U.S. that would expose them to “torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” in breach of the European human rights code.

In April, the Strasbourg, France-based court rejected those claims. Al-Masri and the four others lodged an appeal to the court’s highest judges, but on Monday the court said it refused to hear it. “Today the Grand Chamber Panel decided to reject the request,” the court said in a brief statement. It did not give a reason for refusing the appeal.

Britain’s Home Office and the U.S. Department of Justice welcomed the decision.

“We will work to ensure that the individuals are handed over to the U.S. authorities as quickly as possible,” said the Home Office.

The suspects, who are accused of crimes such as raising funds for terrorists, could face life sentences in a maximum-security prison.

Al-Masri was arrested in Britain in 2004 at the request of U.S. authorities, who have called him “a terrorist facilitator with a global reach.”

They accuse him of assisting the taking of 16 hostages — including two American tourists — in Yemen in 1998 and of conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon, between 2000 and 2001.

He also is accused of conspiring with a U.S. citizen to facilitate a jihad — or holy war — in Afghanistan and providing material support to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

The cleric, who is blind in one eye and wears a hook for a hand, lost several British court cases in his fight against extradition before taking the case to the European court in 2008.

Known for his fiery anti-Western and anti-Semitic outbursts, he claims he has lost his Egyptian nationality, but Britain considers him an Egyptian citizen. He is currently serving a seven-year prison term in Britain for separate charges of inciting hatred.

The other four suspects due to be extradited to the U.S. are Babar Ahmad, Syed Tahla Ahsan, Khaled al-Fawwaz and Adel Abdul Bary.

Ahmad and Ahsan are charged in U.S. federal court in Connecticut with running a terrorist website in London, providing material support to terrorists, conspiring to kill U.S. nationals, and money laundering. Supporters of Ahmad, who was arrested in 2004 and has been held in a British jail since then without charge, are trying to help him get a trial in Britain because his alleged offense happened in London.

Al-Fawwaz and Bary, accused of being key aides to Osama bin Laden in London, are wanted in a New York federal court for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people. Al-Fawwaz faces many counts of murder.

The human rights court said that it has not decided on the case of a sixth suspect, Haroon Rashid Aswat, who was accused of being Al-Masri’s co-conspirator in attempting to set up the camp in Oregon. The court said it needed to consider more information about his case.

In Washington, Dean Boyd, spokesman for the National Security Division of the U.S. justice department, said: “We are pleased that the litigation before the European Court of Human Rights in these cases has come to an end, and we will be working with the U.K. authorities on the arrangements to bring these subjects to the United States for prosecution.””

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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 (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) 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:

           Office Locations

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U.S. Citizen Extradited on Terrorist Allegations

February 28, 2011

A dual U.S.-Lebanese citizen has been extradited from Paraguay and charged with supporting Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant force.

Moussa Ali Hamdan, age 38, appeared in court in Philadelphia following his extradition and has been charged with providing material support to Hezbollah, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Hamdan was arrested by Paraguayan authorities June 15 on suspicion of supporting terrorism and subsequently handed over to U.S. custody.

Hamdan is accused in the United States on 28 counts including conspiring to supply Hezbollah with proceeds from the sale of counterfeit money and fake passports. He also allegedly raised funds for Hezbollah through the sale of counterfeit electronics and leisure wear, such as Nike shoes.

Diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks revealed that the U.S. embassy in Chile was concerned about Hezbollah fund raising and described a broader Islamist network in the so-called Tri-Border Area of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, the area where Hamdan was detained.

Hezbollah, one of the dominant political and military forces in deeply divided Lebanon and a sworn enemy of U.S. ally Israel, has been designated a terrorist group by Washington. OFAC sanctions are currently in effect for Lebanon and target individuals, organizations and entities undermining the democratic processes of Lebanon.

View the Department of Justice press release here.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN 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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18 Members of FARC Indicted; Will Face Extradition to U.S. Upon Capture

December 15, 2010

Tanja Anamary Nijmeijer, a Dutch national who moved to Colombia and joined the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2002, and 17 other members of the FARC designated foreign terrorist organization were indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., yesterday on seven counts of terrorism and weapons charges arising out of their participation in the hostage-taking of three American citizens in the Republic of Colombia.

The three former hostages—Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, and Thomas Howes—were held in the Colombian jungle by members of the FARC for more than five years until their rescue by Colombian military forces on July 2, 2008.

The indictment charges Nijmeijer, 32, and 17 others with one count of conspiracy to commit hostage taking, three substantive counts of hostage taking, one count of using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, and two counts of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Sixteen are being charged for the first time; two others, charged earlier, face new counts in today’s indictment. If convicted of these charges, each individual would face a maximum term of up to 60 years of incarceration, the maximum sentence permitted under Colombian law for Colombian nationals extradited to the United States for prosecution. The weapons charge carries a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years’ incarceration. Four of the 18 individuals are also charged in count two of the indictment with an eighth count, the premeditated murder of a U.S. national outside the United States, done during the perpetration of, and attempt to perpetrate, a kidnapping, which also carries a maximum sentence of up to 60 years’ incarceration in this case.

Marc Gonsalves, Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes, Thomas Janis, and a Colombian national, Sgt. Luis Alcides Cruz, were conducting counter-drug aerial surveillance in southern Colombia on February 13, 2003, when their Cessna aircraft experienced engine failure and was forced to make an emergency landing on a remote mountainside where a large contingent of FARC guerrillas were gathered. All five occupants of the plane survived the crash, but were immediately taken captive by the FARC guerrillas. The pilot of the plane, Thomas Janis, and the Colombian national, Sgt. Cruz, were both immediately executed by the FARC, and their bodies were left near the crash site. The other three, Mr. Gonsalves, Mr. Stansell, and Mr. Howes, were held under barbaric conditions in the jungle for more than five years.

The indictment alleges that choke harnesses, chains, padlocks, and wires were used to bind the necks and wrists of the American hostages to prevent their escape, and a large barbed-wire concentration camp was constructed to hold dozens of civilian hostages in the jungle for more than a year, including the three Americans.

As Colombian rescue efforts intensified in later years, the indictment alleges that the hostages were forced to move long distances, from camp to camp, including a grueling 40-day march while carrying heavy backpacks through dense jungle to outrun Colombian military forces. The indictment also alleges that an agreement was made to kill the hostages, if necessary, to prevent their escape or rescue.

The indictment sheds new light on the international aspect of the FARC’s hostage-taking enterprise, and this crime in particular. For example, it alleges that the hostages were taken to a meeting in 2003 with several senior members of the FARC’s Estado Mayor Central, who told the Americans that their continued detention as U.S. citizens would assist the FARC’s goals by increasing international pressure on the government of Colombia to capitulate to the FARC’s demands. The FARC published communiques articulating their political demands on the Internet, in Spanish and English, to be read in the United States and, in 2003, released a proof of life video articulating their demands to Colombian and American media outlets.

The indictment also alleges that the hostages were transported, at times, outside Colombia and into the Republic of Venezuela, in order to prevent the Colombian police and military from rescuing the hostages.

Four of the individuals in yesterday’s indictment, Carlos Alberto Garcia, also known as “Oscar Montero” and “El Paisa,” Juan Carlos Reina Chica, also known as “Farid,” Jaime Cortes Mejia, also known as “Davison,” and Carlos Arturo Cespedes Tovar, also known as “Uriel,”are charged with murder of a U.S. national outside the United States, for their involvement in the kidnapping when Thomas Janis was shot in the back of the head with an assault rifle by FARC guerrillas. The indictment also alleges that “El Paisa” gave the order to shoot at the disabled plane as it was attempting to land.

Tanja Nijmeijer gained notoriety in recent years in Colombia, after her personal journal was recovered in a Colombian military raid in 2007, and excerpts of a video interview of her were released to the international press in 2010. On the recently-released video, Nijmeijer describes how she first learned about Colombia’s guerrilla war when she was still a student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She describes how she helped the FARC as an operative in Bogota before eventually joining the group as an armed insurgent in November, 2002.

Yesterday’s charging document represents the fifth indictment issued in the District of Columbia against various FARC members involved in the kidnappings.

Two individuals in the indictment—Carlos Alberto Garcia, aka El Paisa, and Jose Ignacio Gonzalez Perdomo, aka Alfredo Arenas—were charged previously in an indictment returned in the District of Columbia in 2003, shortly after the three Americans were taken hostage. The recent indictment re-files each of those charges and adds a new homicide count against El Paisa. The indictment also adds a new weapons charge and an additional material support charge against both men.

The U.S. government, through the Rewards for Justice Program of the Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the apprehension or conviction of any FARC commanders involved in the hostage taking of Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes, and Marc Gonsalves, and the murder of Thomas Janis.

Upon the apprehension of those indicted, they will face immediate extradition to the U.S., assuming cooperation of Colombian officials.

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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