As expected, Norway’s most unwanted refugee immediately appealed an Oslo court’s decision on Wednesday that he be extradited to Italy to face terrorism charges. The court ruled that both Mullah Krekar and a 42-year-old Iraqi citizen can be sent to Italy to be put on trial.
Krekar’s longtime defense attorney, Brynjar Meling, claimed his client had not given up hope that he can remain in Norway, where his family from Northern Iraq also was granted asylum years ago under family reunification terms.
Krekar, whose legal name is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, later violated the terms of his own asylum by returning to Iraq to lead a Kurdish guerrilla group that US officials consider to be a terrorist organization. Krekar has been in and out of court for years on a variety of charges, most recently for making threats against both government officials and others.
He also was named a threat to national security several years ago, making him subject to expulsion, but Norwegian authorities have been unable to send him back to Iraq because they lack assurances from local authorities that Krekar wouldn’t be executed.
Last year he was charged again, while already in jail on other charges, after Italian anti-terror police claimed that he had led a terror network tied to the Islamic State (ISIL) and with cells in several European countries. The Italian authorities asked that he be extradited to Italy, and now the Oslo Court has found that the basis for an extradition exists. That also means that the court has reason to suspect the charges against Krekar are correct.
Meling claimed the court has ignored Krekar’s own claims that he distances himself from terrorist acts. Italian prosecutors claim Krekar’s network plans to overturn the authorities in Kurdistan. Meling claims there’s nothing in Krekar’s manifest for his alleged network, called Rawti Shax, that suggests connections to terrorism.
The attorney for Krekar’s alleged 42-year-old accomplice, who lives in Drammen, said she was disappointed by the extradition order and that it also would be appealed. Some legal experts had suggested that Krekar’s extradition case could drag on for years.