Lawyers fight Dutch terror suspect's arrest, extradition
By Marvin Hokstam The Rotterdam lawyers of a Somalia born Dutchman who is being held on terrorism charges in Turkey are fighting his extradition to the US.
“There is no proof that Ahmed D. is even involved in these types of activities. Whatever the Americans have built the foundation of their case on is completely unclear,” Ahmed’s attorney André Seebregts told NLTimes today. Seebregts’ lawfirm that specializes in human rights violations in terrorism cases, has filed protest against his client’s extradition to the US; a Turkish judge is expected to rule on this on May 22.
Ahmed D. (26), the grandson of former Somali president Siad Barre, was raised in the Netherlands. He came here as a toddler in the 1990s with his parents when his grandfather was ejected from the country. He lived here till he was about 17, after which he moved to England where he studied for aircraft mechanic and then to Egypt with his German wife. In August last year Egyptian authorities arrested him at his apartment; apparently they were searching for his roommate. “He said he does not know much about this roommate and what he was into. And that person had not lived there for at least a year before police raided the apartment,” Seebregts said.
In March this year Ahmed was suddenly released from prison in Egypt and was transiting through an airport in Turkey on his way back to Amsterdam when he was nabbed by authorities there. Seebregts said that he is questioning the role the Dutch consulate may have played in the US authorities' plans to to have his client’s arrested by Turkish authorities.
Ahmed had traveled to Turkey at the advice of the Dutch consulate in Cairo, because there supposedly were no direct flights to Amsterdam that day. “The advice he got from the consulate is indeed an element in this case that we are questioning. The Americans rather have that a suspect with a Dutch passport who want to arrest travels to Turkey. If he would arrive in Amsterdam they could request Dutch authorities to arrest and extradite him, but as a Dutch citizen he could apply for a ‘return guarantee’, meaning that he could request for his trial to be held under Dutch jurisdiction. That could lead to a lower sentence than the one he would get in the US. That is not something the Americans want, so we are questioning why a Dutch citizen was advised to travel through Turkey where all this would not be an issue,” Seebregts explained.
He said he was also questioning the legitimacy of Achmed’s arrest at the airport in Turkey, as the transit area of an airport is supposed to be international territory.
The lawyer said that while all this is playing, Ahmed is mostly happy to be released from the Tora prison in Cairo where he was enduring harsh treatment. “I was not able to visit him there, but I know he was suffering. He was having it hard at the hands of jailers and fellow inmates,” said Seebregts. According to him the Tora prison is overcrowded, leaving inmates with insufficient space for comfortable sleep.
While locked up there Ahmed had went on a thirst-strike in protest against the circumstances in the penitentiary. The Netherlands later raised the issue of his health with Egyptian authorities. “He is happy that at least he is out of there; his family is too,” said Seebregts, adding though that the young man’s relatives are now worried about whether he will receive fair treatment from US authorities.
He said that if Ahmed would be extradited he would likely end up in the notorious ADX Florence prison in Colorado, reportedly the most secure prison in the US prison system. “Inmates there are under constant lockdown and are not allowed human contact, not even with the prison guards. His family is worried about that,” said Seebregts.