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Iraq court rejects transfer of Hezbollah commander to US

An Iraqi court on Thursday rejected a US extradition request for Hezbollah [JURIST news archive] commander Ali Mussa Daqduq. The court also ruled that Daqduq should be released immediately [WP report] from his house arrest. In May an Iraqi court had cleared [JURIST report] all charges against Daqduq. The court stated that Iraq could not extradite someone whose charges were dropped. He had been detained in the US for four years based on allegations that he was involved with Hezbollah and that he was responsible of planning a raid in 2007 which resulted in the deaths of five US soldiers [NYT report]. He had been transferred [JURIST report] in December of last year when talks over which country should be responsible for trying him failed. US President Barack Obama considered trying Daqduq on US soil [JURIST report] but was unable to reach an agreement with Iraqi authorities resulting in an extradition request pursuant to the 2008 status-of-forces agreement between the US and Baghdad.

The US was reluctant to turn over Daqduq to Iraqi authorities. In December, a group of US politicians wrote a letter opposing the transfer of Daqduq into Iraqi custody [JURIST report] due to security concerns. In September, anonymous officials reported that the Obama administration was considering trying Daqduq in a military commission. The administration was reportedly considering this move because they believed that the best place to try Daqduq was at a US military base. Daqduq was captured in Iraq in 2007.

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