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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 20:59 GMT
Dutch man faces US terror charges
US troops in Iraq
US troops have been the target of roadside bombs in Iraq
An Iraqi-born Dutch citizen charged with plotting attacks against American forces in Iraq has appeared in a US federal court.

Wesam al-Delaema, 33, pleaded not guilty to the charges at an initial hearing in Washington.

Mr Delaema will be the first suspect tried in a US court for alleged terrorism in Iraq's insurgency. If convicted, he could face life in jail.

He was extradited from the Netherlands after a lengthy legal battle.

After being held there for nearly two years, he was put on a plane at the weekend after losing his final appeal against extradition in December.

Videotape

Mr Delaema is charged with participating in a conspiracy to attack US troops in Iraq.

According to a six-count indictment, he travelled from the Netherlands to Iraq in 2003 with a group calling itself Fighters of Falluja to plan attacks against US troops.

US authorities say the evidence against him includes a videotape he made of insurgents preparing a roadside bomb.

"This defendant will now face justice for his efforts in orchestrating and launching roadside bomb attacks against our men and women serving in Iraq," Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein said.

In Dutch court hearings, Mr Delaema argued that he had been kidnapped and forced to make the video on pain of death.

He was arrested in 2005 in the Dutch city of Amersfoort following a tip-off by US authorities.

His lawyers have argued that the US has no right to try him. They say they fear he could be tortured and will not get a fair trial.

The US has given assurances that he will be tried in a federal court, not by a military commission, and can serve any sentence in the Netherlands.




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