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Dutchman may face a U.S. trial

December 20, 2006|From the Associated Press

THE HAGUE — A court on Tuesday rejected a last-ditch attempt to block the extradition of a Dutch citizen charged with terrorist attacks on American troops in his native Iraq in 2003.

Wesam Delaema, 32, is set to become the first suspect tried in a U.S. court on terrorism charges in Iraq's bloody insurgency. If convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

It was unclear when Delaema would be flown out of the Netherlands. He is charged in the United States with possession of explosives and conspiracy to use them in an attack.

Evidence against Delaema includes a videotape -- widely shown on Arab television -- that he filmed of a group preparing a roadside bomb. Delaema argued that he was forced to make the video.

Delaema says he is innocent. His attorneys have argued that the U.S. does not have the right to try their client, that he could be tortured by American authorities and that the U.S. legal system cannot be trusted.

American authorities said Delaema would be tried in a federal court, not by a military commission such as those set up for terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. They also said they would not be opposed to Delaema serving his sentence in a Dutch prison if he were convicted.

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