The Netherlands refuses to extradict a terror suspect to the US because we cannot guarantee that his rights will not be violated.
The ruling by the Hague District Court said the suspect’s “fundamental right” of unlimited access to a defense lawyer and immediate access to a judge may be compromised in the United States.
Last month, the court sought guarantees from U.S. prosecutors that the detainee would be afforded those basic rights if he were extradited. In Wednesday’s ruling, it rejected a U.S. submission that “the United States views such a request as unwarranted and unnecessary.”
The ruling is a setback for efforts by the two countries to strengthen trans-Atlantic cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The Dutch Justice Ministry, which had already approved the extradition, said it was studying the decision and could not comment in detail.
“This ruling is unique in Dutch legal history. Never before has a judge ruled that an extradition to the United States could not take place because the rights of a defendant could not be guaranteed,” [defense attorney Bart] Nooitgedagt said.
Nooitgedagt said U.S. prosecutors sought to question his client in relation to the so-called Detroit sleeper-cell case from 2003 against four North African immigrants, the first U.S. prosecution of an alleged terror cell detected after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The case fell apart over prosecutorial misconduct and earlier this year the chief prosecutor resigned and a federal judged apologized to the defendants.
U.S. authorities sought to prosecute the Dutch suspect on charges of telecommunications fraud related to the Detroit case, but Nooitgedagt feared they would use interrogations tactics banned under international law.