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

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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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Canada told to prosecute, not extradite alleged war criminal

November 29, 2011

The Canadian Press on November 28, 2011 released the following:

“CALGARY — Ramiro Osorio Cristales says he was only five when he witnessed Guatemalan soldiers butcher almost every man, woman and child in the village of Dos Erres during the country’s bloody civil war.

“They took my father and my older brother to the school and my mother and younger brothers to the church,” Cristales recalled Monday through tears. “They were crying. Most of the people was praying.

“The next morning they started massacring the men and young kids from the school. When they finished with the men they started with the women from the church.”

Thirty years later and Cristales is now living in Canada.

On the surface he seems fine, but he says the emotional scars are still there. And his anger at the man accused of commanding the military unit that surrounded Dos Erres in December 1982.

Jorge Vinicio Orantes Sosa, 53, who holds both Canadian and American citizenship, remains in custody in Calgary as he appeals his extradition back to the United States on immigration charges.

He is also wanted by Guatemalan authorities for allegedly participating in attacks on the village. A total of 251 men, women and children were killed during the massacre. The military unit believed the village was under rebel control and that its inhabitants were responsible for an ambush on soldiers and the theft of 20 rifles. No weapons were found.

Sosa denies the allegations.

Many of the villagers were killed with sledgehammers. The women and girls were raped and their bodies were thrown down the village well.

“At that time, I didn’t know what rape means,” Cristales said. “The little kids were screaming for their moms to help them because they were raping them and then after the rape they killed them.”

Cristales is joining Lawyers Without Borders and the Canadian Centre for International Justice in demanding that the Canadian government prosecute Sosa for war crimes here, instead of returning him to the United States.

“He’s only being charged in the United States for lying on his citizenship application. There are no charges for the underlying crimes that he allegedly committed in the Dos Erres massacre,” explained Matt Eisenbrandt, the legal co-ordinator for the Centre for International Justice.

“In Canada he could stand trial for crimes against humanity, for war crimes, for the actual human-rights abuses.”

Sosa was arrested earlier this year in Lethbridge, Alta., and is accused of lying to American immigration authorities when he applied for U.S. citizenship about whether he had committed a crime or been a member of a military organization.

The groups want the Canadian government to take a stand in the case, but so far have not received a response from the federal justice minister. Eisenbrandt said the Canadian government has an obligation to do something in this case.

“There are very strong laws in Canada that allow for the prosecution of crimes against humanity and war crimes even when they’re committed overseas,” he said.

“This is a case that has a very close connection to Canada. There is a Canadian citizen who is a survivor and Mr. Sosa is himself a Canadian citizen.”

A Calgary judge ruled in September that there was sufficient evidence to approve the extradition request.

During that extradition hearing Sosa’s lawyer, Alain Hepner, acknowledged the “atrocities” committed in Guatemala formed a backdrop for the hearing, but argued the key was to determine if Sosa committed perjury.

Hepner said there was “ambiguity” in the questions asked by U.S. Immigration officials and there is no proof Sosa committed any crimes.

“There is no trial. He hasn’t been convicted,” said Hepner. “He is in essence denying the crimes they say he committed.”

But the judge had harsh words for Sosa.

“The evidence from the massacre at Dos Erres clearly establishes that Sosa was present and involved and actively participated in the killings with a sledgehammer, a firearm and a grenade,” Judge Neil Wittmann said.

“It is hard for this court to comprehend these murderous acts of depraved cruelty.”

“I want him to stay here and he can pay for whatever he did in Guatemala,” said Cristales.”

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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 and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

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.


Judge Hears Arguments in Azra Bašic’s Extradition Case For Alleged War Crimes

July 10, 2011

Kentucky.com on July 9, 2011 released the following:

“By Greg Kocher

A U.S. magistrate judge heard oral arguments Friday concerning the extradition of a woman wanted by authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina for alleged war crimes against civilians.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier made no decision except to change a scheduled Aug. 22 extradition hearing in U.S. District Court in Lexington to a status conference. No new date was scheduled for that extradition hearing.

The woman, whom authorities refer to as Azra Bašic, was arrested in March in Powell County, where she had been living for some time. She is accused of torturing and murdering ethnic Serbs at prison camps from April to June 1992, during the Bosnian civil war.

Bašic, a naturalized U.S. citizen, sat silently as her attorney, Patrick Nash, argued that the extradition petition against her should be dismissed because there is no formal treaty regarding extradition between the United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Furthermore, a 1902 treaty between Serbia and the United States prohibits extradition of U.S. citizens.

In addition, Nash argued that Bašic cannot be extradited because the statute of limitations ran out. Finally, Nash said extradition cannot proceed because Bosnia and Herzegovina have not produced a valid warrant.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney James Arehart said an extradition treaty is in force between the United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he submitted an affidavit from a legal adviser with the U.S. State Department that said an extradition treaty is in force. Arehart also countered that Congress granted authority to the U.S. secretary of state to extradite U.S. citizens.

Arehart’s written response to Nash’s motion to dismiss notes that U.S. district courts around the country have found at least four other people to be extraditable to Bosnia and Herzegovina on the basis of an extradition treaty.

Arehart also argued that the extradition request satisfies the treaty requirements regarding statute of limitations. And the request from Bosnia and Herzegovina more than satisfies any warrant requirement, Arehart argued.

Before the hearing began, Wier said the case is like an onion in many respects, because there are so many layers to it.

Wier wants to know about more layers, too. He asked the lawyers to submit written briefs on the legal effect of charging someone whose name isn’t known. In the initial charges issued against her in 1993, Bašic wasn’t fully identified, and the international warrant for her arrest wasn’t issued until 2006.

In addition, Wier wants to know whether U.S. torture laws can be applied retroactively to conduct that allegedly happened before the laws were enacted.”

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

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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Serbia Requests Extradition of Suspected Nazi from U.S.

November 29, 2010

Serbia is seeking extradition from the U.S. of a naturalized American citizen who is suspected of serving in a Nazi unit that killed around 17,000 Jewish and other civilians during World War II, according to Snezana Malovic, the justice minister of Serbia.

Serbia sent its formal request for the extradition of Peter Egner to the U.S. last Friday.

Belgrade has worked closely with the U.S. on the case of 88-year-old Egner, who was born in Yugoslavia, but emigrated to the U.S. in 1960, gaining American citizenship six years later.

Egner has lived in a retirement community outside Seattle, fighting U.S. federal government efforts to strip him of his American citizenship, which would pave the way for his extradition. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in 2008 to revoke Egner’s citizenship, saying he failed to disclose details from his past on his naturalization application.

The complaint alleges that Egner served as a guard and interpreter with the Nazi-controlled Security Police and Security Service in Belgrade, Serbia – then Yugoslavia – from April 1941 to September 1943. It states that Egner did not divulge that information when he applied for citizenship, but instead falsely claimed that he served in the German army as an infantry sergeant, and was granted U.S. citizenship in 1966.

Egner has denied any knowledge of the Einsatzgruppe unit that rounded up Jews, political prisoners and other enemies of the Third Reich in the wake of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union in the early 1940s.

The Justice Department, citing Nazi documents, said that in the fall of 1941, Egner’s unit executed 11,164 people – mostly Serbian Jewish men, suspected communists and Gypsies – and that in early 1942, it murdered 6,280 Serbian Jewish women and children who had been prisoners at Semlin camp. Daily over the course of two months, those women and children were taken from the camp and forced into a specially designed van, in which they were gassed with carbon monoxide.

Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor has said that he wants to try Egner in Serbia. The Simon Wiesenthal Center also has encouraged Serbia to try Egner and two other alleged Nazis 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 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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