Copenhagen

Krekar extradition not renounced but arrest revoked (2)

Suspected of planning attacks and recruiting jihadists

Krekar extradition not renounced but arrest revoked (2)

Copenhagen, November 30 - The Italian justice ministry has not in fact renounced its extradition request for Mullah Krekar, who was being detained in Norway and whom Italy said was responsible for jihadist recruitment and planning terrorist attacks in Europe, but a Trento judge has revoked his arrest warrant, removing the grounds for extradition, judicial sources said Wednesday. Norway said the mullah would be released later Wednesday. A week ago the Supreme Court in Oslo rejected the appeal of the radical Muslim cleric against his extradition to Italy. Italian investigators say 60-year-old Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad, Krekar's real name, is the ringleader of Rawti Shax, an extremist network that wants to overthrow the elected government of Kurdistan and replace it with a fundamentalist Islamist "caliphate". Rawti Shax has branches all over Europe, where it proselytizes, recruits foreign fighters, and provides logistical support for aspiring terrorists. Italy's Special Operations Department (ROS) last year arrested alleged Rawti Shax member Abdul Rahman Nauroz, who they say recruited terrorists online and through "lessons" he held in his flat in the northern city of Merano. Investigators called Nauroz's flat "a secret meeting location and a crossroads for aspiring jihadis". A preliminary investigations judge in Italy a year ago upheld a pretrial detention order for the mullah. The cleric, who obtained refugee status in Norway in 1991, is also known as the founder of Ansar al-Islam, the major Salafist jihadi group that merged with Islamic State (ISIS) two years ago. He was repeatedly arrested and released after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., and investigations have uncovered his high-level contacts with the al-Qaeda terrorist group. Police also seized a diary in which he had the phone number of slain terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). There are also unconfirmed reports that Norway foiled an attempt by the CIA to bring about the mullah's extraordinary rendition, or government-sponsored abduction and extrajudicial transfer. Krekar's lawyer Brynar Meling had said he would appeal to the Norwegian justice department to halt the extradition.

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