A Norwegian appeals court has supported a ruling from an Oslo City Court that would allow state officials to extradite Islamic cleric Mullah Krekar to Italy. Officials in Italy want to prosecute Krekar on charges he led a terrorist network in Europe.
Krekar’s long-time defense attorney Brynjar Meling has already vowed to appeal once again, to Norway’s Supreme Court. Meling has argued that the extradition case is part of a political effort to finally send Krekar out of Norway.
The now-60-year-old Krekar, who came to Norway as a refugee from Northern Iraq, was ultimately declared a threat to Norway’s national security after years of defying asylum law, running a guerrilla group back in his homeland and being convicted for making threats against a variety of Norwegian residents including the current prime minister, Erna Solberg.
Norway has been frustrated in its efforts to send Krekar, whose given name is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, back to Northern Iraq because he may face a death sentence there. Krekar has thus remained in Norway and had resisted efforts to deport or extradite him, even though he denounces Norway’s western lifestyle.
The appeals court has now ruled that even though an extradition would interfere with Krekar’s right to a family life, Italy’s need to quickly and thoroughly prosecute its terror case is more important. The court also noted that Krekar faces serious charges in Italy.