WASHINGTON – An Iraqi-born Dutch citizen who preened for the cameras in a jihadist video was hauled into a U.S. courtroom yesterday to face charges that he plotted to kill Americans in Iraq with roadside bombs.
Wesam al-Delaema, 33, is the first suspect to face charges for insurgent violence against Americans in Iraq, the Justice Department said.
Delaema has been wanted by the United States since 2003, when he and his fellow “mujahedeen from Fallujah” videotaped themselves planting explosives along an Iraq road used by U.S. troops. The explosives did not result in any deaths.
He was extradited over the weekend from the Netherlands, which first imposed a series of conditions on the U.S.
“After a lengthy extradition process, 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.
Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said that Delaema will be tried in a federal court – not by a military commission such as those set up for terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. will also not oppose Delaema serving his sentence in a Dutch prison if he is convicted, Boyd said.
Delaema traveled to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion. In extradition hearings in the Netherlands, he argued that he was forced to make the video after being kidnapped and beaten. He said he feared being beheaded if he resisted.