White House Moves to Extradite Prisoner From Iraq
The White House has asked Iraq to hand over a Hezbollah commander who was accused of masterminding a 2007 attack that killed five American soldiers, a senior US official said Thursday.
Two Iraqi courts have declared Ali Mussa Daqduq not guilty in the attack. The case is a tricky aftermath of the long US military campaign in Iraq and has elements of both Iraqi and US internal politics.
Daqduq has been released from prison but is being held under house arrest in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone as Washington seeks to bring US charges against him. Daqduq, a Lebanese citizen, is considered a top threat to Americans in the Middle East and was detained for more than four years by the US military before it left Iraq in December.
Antony J. Blinken, the national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, said the United States wants to keep Daqduq locked up for as long as is legally possible.
Blinken said the Obama administration will also file a request on behalf of the victims’ families for Iraq’s highest appeals court to review and correct its June 25 order to free Daqduq. But he said the United States asked to extradite Daqduq before the final court ruling declaring him not guilty.
”The process has not concluded,” Blinken said Thursday.
He said the White House has consistently urged Baghdad to use any legal means to prosecute and detain Daqduq ”for the crimes he committed on Iraqi soil, including any crimes against US service-members.”