“Norway rearrested the founder of an Iraqi Islamic group accused of attacks on U.S. troops on Friday, less than six months after authorities dropped terrorism charges against him for lack of evidence.” So says Reuters.
“Police said they would bring new charges against Mullah Krekar, an Iraqi Kurd and co-founder of Ansar al-Islam, a group which Washington says has ties to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network. Krekar, who has had refugee status in Norway since 1991, has denied links to militant groups. He was arrested at his home in Oslo around midday, police said.
“Senior police official Erling Grimstad, who headed the investigation, said police would ask an Oslo court on Saturday to order that Krekar be detained for four weeks while they prepare a case against him. ‘We have a new charge in the case against Mullah Krekar,’ Grimstad told Reuters. He declined to elaborate and said police would also ask for a closed-door court hearing.
“Police first arrested Krekar on March 20, the day U.S.-led forces began an invasion to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Krekar was charged under anti-terrorism legislation of links to a terrorist organisation and of threatening violence. An appeals court ordered his release in April and the charges were finally dropped in July when Grimstad acknowledged that police did not have enough evidence. Krekar’s attorney Brynjar Meling said on Friday that he had been informed of the arrest but had not yet met his client and did not know what the new charges were. ‘I am not sure exactly what they have connected him to,’ Meling told Reuters on his way to meet Krekar who led Ansar al-Islam in 2001-2002.
“The U.S. air force targeted Ansar’s camps in northern Iraq during the war and U.S. officials have named it as one of the groups behind an insurgency that has killed more than 200 American soldiers since major combat was declared over in May. Last year Washington asked Oslo to extradite Krekar to Jordan to face criminal charges there. In November Norway rejected a Jordanian request for his extradition to face drug trafficking charges.” Why?