Tuesday, July 19, 2005


German high court strikes down EU warrant, blocks extradition of alleged al Qaeda financier

From a Reuters report:

KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) - Germany's top court blocked the extradition of a suspected al Qaeda financier to Spain, ruling on Monday that a key instrument in the European Union's fight against terrorism breached the constitution.

The Federal Constitutional Court ordered the release of Mamoun Darkazanli, a German-Syrian fighting his handover under an EU arrest warrant, a new instrument the court said Germany had not implemented correctly.

In doing so, the court upheld an article of the post-war constitution preventing the state from extraditing its citizens, with only limited exceptions.

The ruling could undermine the warrant, one of the bloc's most significant security initiatives since the September 11 attacks in 2001 and introduced last year to speed up the handover of suspects and boost cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said the court's decision was a set-back for the battle against international terrorism.

While the focus of this particular case is terrorism, note that the ruling would appear to prohibit extradition of virtually all German nationals to other countries. In effect, Germany is, for the time being, a safe haven for terrorists as well as other criminals to operate around the world without fear of extradition to the country where the crimes or terrorist acts are committed. Like most European countries, Germany has lax immigration policies and easy asylum/citizenship requirements.

This situation demonstrates, once again, the frailty inherent in the EU, and perhaps, the problem the EU is having gaining acceptance among Europeans. The warrant requirement was adopted by the German government in accordance with EU procedures, but apparently is in conflict with German constitutional provisions. The “dual-sovreignty” concept of the EU is coming under increasing strain from a variety of quarters – economic, social, and now legal.

The problem now is that, until and unless the EU warrant is re-adopted by Germany in a form acceptable to German courts, criminals and terrorists wanted in other countries are simply free to go.

The European Commission urged Berlin to address the problems and try again to implement the EU arrest warrant in full.

Zypries said a new law could be ready within four to six weeks, although an expected German general election in September could stall the warrant's re-launch for months.

Konrad Freiberg, the head of the German police union, urged rival politicians not to let the issue become an electoral battleground.

Suspects wanted in other EU nations are meanwhile free.

Darkazanli has been accused by the United States of financing al Qaeda, has been investigated for connections to the “Hamburg Cell” that planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks, and was charged by Spanish officials in September 2003 with belonging to al Qaeda. The Spanish charges allege he is a financier for the terrorist organization, including the purchase of a cargo ship for Osama bin Laden in 1993.

Like the British authorities who refused extradition of Mohammad al Garbuzi to Morocco after his conviction for the Casablanca bombings, the German political structure is now serving as a shield behind which international terrorists can act with impunity. Garbuzi, harbored by the British, is wanted in connection with the Madrid bombings, and his name has surfaced in connection with the London bombings. Darkazanli apparently also has connections to a number of terrorist activities.

Those nations who do not want to be destroyed by Islamist terrorism had better wake up soon, and begin changing laws that the Islamists are surely well aware of, and using to their advantage and to the detriment of their “host” countries.

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