Belgium to extradite Al-Qaeda militant to US: report

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Belgian justice officials gave government clearance on Friday to extradite an Al-Qaeda militant to the United States but only if he does not face the death penalty, a newspaper reported.

A special court chamber ruled that there was no legal reason to block the extradition of former footballer Nizar Trabelsi, and the decision is now in the hands of Belgian Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck, the daily De Standaard reported, citing judicial sources.

Trabelsi was arrested after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and sentenced to 10 years in jail in Belgium in 2004 for plotting to drive a car bomb into a NATO airbase where US military personnel work.

US authorities issued an extradition request for Trabelsi over suspicions that he was involved in other major Al-Qaeda-backed plots.

The request is based on allegations that Trabelsi was part of a criminal enterprise aiming to kill US nationals overseas as well as membership of a criminal organisation trying to procure or use weapons of mass destruction.

Trabelsi has denied accusations that he plotted an attack on the US embassy in Paris.

He was also alleged to be part of a group supplying materials and other resources to "a foreign terrorist organisation."

Belgium's top court already rejected an attempt by Trabelsi to block his extradition in June 2009.

His attorney says the extradition request came out of retaliation for his refusal to cooperate with the FBI.

© 2010 AFP

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