Netherlands: Court authorizes extradition of terror suspect

On May 31, 2010, the Court of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, authorized the extradition to the United States of a terrorism suspect from Somalia. The suspect, Mohamud Said Omar, had been arrested in the Dutch refugee center at Dronten in November 2009. He is accused of belonging to a terror group, the Al-Shabab, and of conspiring to kill, kidnap, or mutilate people. The United States also alleges that he gave essential aid to other terrorists in the U.S. and Somalia.

In order to obtain the extradition order, the U.S. government provided guarantees that the defendant would not face the death penalty upon conviction in the United States, removing the major barrier to extradition.

The decision to grant the extradition request will be appealed to the Dutch Supreme Court. The defense attorney, Bart Stapert, has argued that extradition should not be permitted because U.S. counterterrorism laws are harsher than similar laws in the Netherlands and that the defendant’s life will be at risk if he is sent to the United States. Stapert said, “[h]e will not need to fear for his life in the United States, but he risks being expelled to Somalia after serving his sentence in the United States. And in Somalia his life may indeed be in danger.” The appeal process is expected to take months.


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