Extradition of al-Mouyad delayed [Archives:2003/654/Front Page]

July 28 2003

BERLIN, July 25 (YT/Reuters) – The possible extradition to the United States of Sheikh Mohammed al-Mouyad and his assistant Mohammed Zayed suspected of links to al-Qaeda could be delayed for months while appeals are heard, their lawyers said on Friday.
Al-Mouyad and his assistant were arrested in Frankfurt in January at the request by U.S. officials, who accuse the two of being Al-Qaeda supporters.
A Frankfurt court this week approved their extradition to the United States. It said the two men were suspected members of a “terrorist organization”. One was suspected of helping finance Al-Qaeda and the extremist wing of the Palestinian group Hamas.
The German government has the final say on the extradition, but the men's lawyers have now appealed to the Constitutional Court and say this could delay any such decision by months.
“The German justice ministry has signaled that it will defer the two men's extradition until the Constitutional Court has assessed the case,” lawyer Volker Dickersbach said, adding this could take between two and three months.
An official delegation from Parliament and Shoura council members left Yemen last Thursday for Germany to continue efforts with the German authorities to get Sheikh al-Mouyad and his companion released. They will also be handing a petition to the German parliament.
“We call for the extradition of the two Yemeni citizens to Yemen so that our country's fight against terrorism will not be impacted by this arrest,” Ismail Ahmed Al-Wazir, one of the delegation's members, told a news conference.
Yemeni official sources said the delegation carried messages to the German parliament, urging it to use its constitutional power to stop the turning over of the two suspects held in Germany since last January. The delegation met last Thursday the advocates of the two suspects who decided to appeal the ruling to the constitutional court. The Yemeni parliament and Shoura council already urged the German parliament to take action in the case of al-Mouyad so as to maintain the good relationship between the two countries.
Both men belong to Yemen's Islamic opposition Islah party, whose members say the pair has no connection to Al-Qaeda.
Dickersbach said an FBI agent had lured Mouyad to Germany, claiming he was to receive a charitable donation from a donor there. The United States wanted him to be arrested in Germany as Yemeni law forbids extradition of its nationals, he added.
Yemen's government considered the trap set for the two persons in Germany by some US agents for their arrest, a violation of the international law and an infringement of Yemen's sovereignty.
However, the Frankfurt court rejected this assumption saying that “there is no general basis of people's rights that contradicts the act of chasing concerning the infringement of countries' national sovereignty in the case of having a party inveigle a certain person using an agent to another country.”
The US ambassador to Yemen, Edmund Hull, said last week that the US is very much interested in the contacts and activities of al-Mouyad with US citizens. The US accuses al-Moued of being Osama Bin Laden's financier, collecting money for al-Qaeda and Hamas.