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Norway Arrests Iraqi Extremist Convicted of Terrorism in Italy

Norway Arrests Iraqi Extremist Convicted of Terrorism in Italy

Wednesday, 17 July, 2019 - 07:45
Mullah Krekar. (AFP)
Oslo - Asharq Al-Awsat
Norway has arrested controversial Iraqi Kurdish fundamentalist preacher Mullah Krekar after he was convicted in Italy of "terrorist" conspiracy, the PST intelligence service said Tuesday.

"The PST, with the assistance of Oslo police, arrested Mullah Krekar on Monday evening under an international search warrant and an Italian arrest warrant," the agency said on Twitter.

A refugee in Norway since 1991, 63-year-old Krekar – whose real name is Najumuddin Ahmad Faraj is to appear before the court to be put in temporary custody.

In his absence, a court in Bolzano in northern Italy sentenced him to 12 years' imprisonment on a charge of "terrorist conspiracy". It also sentenced five co-accused.

The extremist preacher was convicted of leading an extremist Kurdish network, which is Ansar al-Islam – affiliated with ISIS, and might have committee attacks in western countries.

The prosecution accused Krekar of leading the Rawti Shax, a European network that aims to topple the Kurdish government through violence.

"He has no connection with ISIS… His only goal is to come back to Kurdistan in Iraq and be able to be a politician there, set up the political party he wants to establish in Iraq as a free man," his Norwegian lawyer Brynjar Meling said.

Considered a threat to national security and featuring on UN and US terror lists, Krekar has been at risk of deportation since 2003. Norwegian law, however, bars his deportation to Iraq because he risks the death penalty there.

He had spent several years in jail in Norway for threats and inciting violence, but was freed in November 2016 after Italy's withdrawal.

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