Dutch court halts Qaeda suspects extradition to US
THE HAGUE: A Dutch court on Friday halted the extradition of a Dutch-Pakistani al Qaeda suspect to the United States, saying he would not be handed over until Washington guaranteed the same treatment for his post-traumatic stress disorder as in the Netherlands.
The Hague judge “prohibits the State to extradite Sabir Khan as long as the United States cannot guarantee,” that Khan, 26, gets a very specific type of treatment for his disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, said a court document sent to AFP. Khan, 26, is wanted by the US for allegedly planning acts including a suicide bombing at a US military base in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province.
He faces five terror-related charges before a New York court, but details have never been made public and it is unclear if the suicide attack ever took place. Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten in December gave his final approval for Khan’s extradition, but said Khan could only be transferred if he would get similar treatment for PTSD, which his lawyers said he suffered as a result of torture in a Pakistani jail.
Khan, who allegedly also suffers from depression, received so-called eye movement desensitisation treatment (EMDR) in the Netherlands, which is not used in US prisons, according to the court document.
The treatment is controversial and US authorities said in a letter “EMDR is not universally used or accepted. It is not a treatment used by the Bureau of Prisons.” Khan lost a bid in February to stop his transfer after a Dutch court slapped down his lawyers’ previous arguments that the US was complicit in his torture in Pakistan and his rights would be violated should he be sent to a US jail.
His lawyers then filed a second urgent appeal — to which a judge agreed Friday — saying Khan could not be extradited unless he gets exactly the same EMDR treatment for his disorder. Khan was arrested on September 23, 2010 in a dawn raid in Quetta.
He was flown to the Netherlands in April 2011 after Islamabad handed him over and promptly rearrested upon his arrival at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
US officials filed a formal request for his extradition two months later. Khan’s lawyer Andre Seebregts told AFP he would now file for Khan’s release, as well as cancel a filing before the European Court of Human Rights for a separate ruling on the matter. “My client is very content with the ruling,” Seebregts said.
Dutch justice officials said Friday they would study the ruling before deciding whether to lodge an appeal. afp