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US pursues extradition of Swedish terror suspect

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16:22 CET+01:00
US authorities have a 40-day deadline to convince their Czech counterparts to extradite a Swede who has been detained in Prague on an international arrest warrant for allegedly conspiring to help terrorists, justice ministry officials told AFP on Wednesday.

The 39 year old man was detained as soon as he stepped off the plane at Prague airport on Sunday during a stopover on the flight between Stockholm and Beirut in what appears to have been a carefully coordinated international operation.

"I can confirm that there was cooperation with the Czechs and Swedes and that the FBI was in as well," said the press spokesman at the US embassy in Prague, Jan Krc. He said he was unable to give further details about the operation.

The man is now being held in a police cell, Czech police spokesman Pavel Hantak said on Wednesday. "The next step must come from the (Czech) Ministry of Justice," he told AFP.

Under Czech procedures, the country demanding extradition must make its case within 40 days of the person being held in custody. A judge will weigh up the evidence and decide whether or not extradition is granted, a justice ministry official told AFP.

The 39 year old is subject to an international arrest warrant issued by a US judge and wanted by Interpol. US federal prosecutors in New York said on Tuesday they were pursuing his extradition from Czech custody.

Sweden has never agreed to extradite the suspect, who originates from Lebanon and has Swedish citizenship.

The indictment charged the Swede with conspiring to set up a "jihad" camp in Oregon that would offer military weapons training for Muslims interested in fighting in Afghanistan.

Witnesses cited in the indictment said the man boasted of having received training in Afghanistan, Kashmir and Lebanon. He was also allegedly seen in possession of a compact disc which contained information about improvising poisons.

Swedish tabloid Expressen said he was accused in Sweden of plotting terror attacks several years ago but was freed for lack of evidence. He was later sentenced to a year behind bars on a weapons offence.

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