Lawyer to appeal Somali terror suspect’s extradition from Netherlands to Minneapolis

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Terror suspect’s extradition to US to be appealed

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A Somali terror suspect’s lawyer said Tuesday he will appeal a Dutch court’s ruling that his client can be extradited to the U.S.

Rotterdam District Court ruled that Mohamud Said Omar can be sent to Minneapolis, where he is wanted for allegedly providing money to the Somali group al-Shabab that was used to buy weapons.

Omar’s lawyer Bart Stapert told The Associated Press in an e-mail that Omar was disappointed by Monday’s decision and he plans to appeal the extradition to the Dutch Supreme Court, a process likely to take months.

The 44-year-old Somali has been held in a high-security Dutch prison since his November arrest at Washington’s request. His lawyers say he never intended to help terrorists.

The U.S. State Department considers al-Shabab a terror group with links to al-Qaida.

A total of 14 people have been charged in an ongoing U.S. federal investigation into the travels of up to 20 young men who went to Somalia to fight starting in 2007. They face a variety of accusations, from recruiting and raising funds for the trips, to engaging in terrorist acts in Somalia and perjury.

Stapert argued in court that at the time Omar is accused of links to the group, al-Shabab was fighting a “legitimate struggle against Ethiopians” who were brought in by Somalia’s weak U.N.-backed government in late 2006 to oust an Islamic group that had controlled southern Somalia and the capital for six months.

The Ethiopians pulled out of the country in early 2009.

Omar has residency in the U.S. but had been living in a center for would-be asylum seekers in the Netherlands since December 2008, apparently before he was a suspect.

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