Belgium set to extradite Madrid bomb suspect
24 March 2005
BRUSSELS – Belgium is set to extradite to Spain a man believed to be linked to last year’s Madrid train bomb atrocity.
A Belgian court has rejected an appeal from Moroccan-born Youssef Belhadj, which now clears the way for him to be sent to Madrid.
“We will do what is necessary to organise Mr Belhadj’s rapid transfer to Spain,” said court spokesman Lieve Pellens.
“It should be within the next ten days, and possibly even sooner.”
Belhadj, 28, and a suspected Islamic militant has denied any involvement in the terrorist attack last March that killed 191 people.
He was first arrested in March 2004 because he was believed to be a member of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group but he was released due to a lack of sufficient evidence.
Belhadj was arrested again in Belgium last month after a European arrest warrant was issued by Madrid.
In Spain he is suspected of being Abu Dujanah, al-Qaeda’s European spokesman who claimed responsibility for the attacks in a videotape message.
On the tape Abu Dujanah claims the bombings were in retaliation for Spain’s cooperation with America over Iraq and Afghanistan.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news