Czech court rules to extradite Swedish terror suspect

A Czech court has ruled that the 41-year-old Swede being held in Prague on suspicion of terror offences can be extradited to the United States.

A prosecutor had told the court on Monday that the crimes of which Oussama Kassir is accused are within the scope of the country’s extradition treaty.

The prosecutor was speaking at the start of a second hearing to decide the fate of Kassir, who was arrested in 2005 at Prague airport while in transit on his way from Sweden to Lebanon.

Oussama Kassir was arrested under an Interpol warrant. The decision on whether to extradite him depended on how the Czech courts and the country’s justice minister interpreted the extradition treaty with the United States.

An earlier hearing was postponed while the court waited for more evidence to arrive from the United States. That evidence arrived at the court earlier this week, and consisted of witness statements backing up claims that Kassir helped run a training camp for terrorists on a ranch in Oregon in 1999.

Kassir has denied terror charges. A Swedish prosecutor, Tomas Lindstrand, had previously investigated the American claims but opted not to pursue the case.

Sweden’s ambassador in Prague, Catherine von Heidenstam, has been following the case:

“The defence counsel argued in quite a long submission that the information [from witnesses] is obtained by force and is therefore not a basis for charges, and also argued that the case had already been examined in Sweden without a prosecution or conviction,” she said on Monday.

The decision to extradite Kassir could be appealed. Even if a higher court decided to extradite him this would only happen with the approval of the country’s justice minister.