Time may be running out for Mullah Krekar, Norway’s most troublesome and expensive refugee. An appeals court has refused to hear his objections to a lower court’s verdict that can clear the way for his extradition to Italy, where he’s been sentenced to 12 years in prison for terrorist activity.
After nearly 30 years in the country, and numerous trials over his alleged threats and terrorist activity, Krekar’s long-standing defense attorney angrily faces a new legal challenge. Brynjar Meling is already vowing to take Krekar’s case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg if Norway’s Supreme Court also rejects Krekar’s extradition appeal. It remains unclear whether that will succeed.
If not, the extradition process against Krekar (who has been back in custody since mid-July) will proceed. Krekar managed to avoid traveling to Italy for his trial on the terrorism charges that Meling and Krekar have argued are politically motivated, but Norway has a extradition agreement with Italy that’s expected to be upheld.
Few Norwegians are likely to miss Krekar, who came to Norway as a refugee in 1991 but traveled back to his home territory in Northern Iraq where he led a guerrilla group that’s been described by the US as a terrorist organization. Krekar’s travels also violated the terms of his asylum, while Krekar has lodged various threats against rivals and political officials including the current prime minister Erna Solberg. That’s landed him in court and jail on numerous occasions over the years.
Krekar has long been considered a threat to national security in Norway, but Norwegian officials have been unable to send him back to Iraq after failing to secure guarantees that he wouldn’t be put to death. Norway refrains from sending convicts back to countries where they’d risk facing a death penalty.
Krekar’s objections to being extradited to Italy also hinge on fears he may ultimately be sent back to Iraq. The Oslo County Court disagreed there was any risk of deportation from Italy, as did the appeals court.