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Kosovar Wanted By U.S. Ready To Face Terrorism Charges

Bajram Asllani's home, in Mitrovica, on November 25.
Bajram Asllani's home, in Mitrovica, on November 25.
PRISTINA -- A Kosovar Albanian wanted by the United States for aiding terrorists says he is ready to face the charges against him, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

Bajram Asllani, who also goes by the name Ebu Hattab, is accused by U.S. officials of "conspiracy to provide material support or resources for terrorists and conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure persons."

He is one of the FBI's most-wanted suspects.

Asllani is alleged to have been in contact with seven men living in the U.S. state of North Carolina to secure weapons and terrorist training for them to carry out attacks overseas. The seven suspects have been detained in the United States. Asllani was to set up a base of operations in Kosovo.

Asllani, 30, lives in the northern Kosovar city of Mitrovica. He told RFE/RL on November 26 that "if there is justice we are ready to face every accusation, because I have not committed any crime. I have never even been outside Kosovo."

Asllani added that he has been under police observation since 2007 but that no evidence of wrongdoing on his part has ever been found.

Asllani was arrested in June but was released because international judges, part of the EULEX Mission, refused the U.S. request for his extradition.

According to the judges, U.S. officials did not offer the necessary proof that Asllani had committed a crime.

Blerim Krasniqi, an EULEX spokesman, offered another reason for the refusal.

"At the beginning of September, Kosovo's Supreme Court decided against the extradition of Asllani," Krasniqi told RFE/RL. "The reason for such a decision was the absence of a valid agreement for extradition between Kosovo and Serbia. The only agreement dates to 1901 and was reached between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia."

Kosovar police confirm that there is no indictment or an investigation against Asllani on the part of Kosovar institutions.

In September 2009, a Serbian court convicted him in absentia of terror-related charges and sentenced him to eight years in prison.

The U.S. request for Asllani's extradition was signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to Ehat Miftaraj, the director for international cooperation at Kosovo's Justice Ministry.

Miftaraj told RFE/RL that the ministry asked the regional tribunal in Mitrovica to make a decision on Asllani's extradition. He said the "Mitrovica regional tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for such a request."

Read more in Albanian here.

Read more in Serbian here.