London to extradite Dutch suspect

A man suspected of being part of a group linked to the murder of Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh is to be extradited to the Netherlands.

Racid Belkacem, 32 was arrested in London in June after a request from Dutch authorities.

He agreed on Wednesday to be sent back to the Netherlands after being warned he could face additional charges.

Prosecutors say the Dutch national is a Muslim extremist who had “maintained contact” with members of Hofstad group.

More than a dozen suspected members of the network are awaiting trial in the Netherlands on terrorism charges.

Mr Van Gogh, 47, was shot and stabbed to death in Amsterdam in November last year.

The man currently on trial for the murder, Mohammed Bouyeri, is also said to have Hofstad links.

He said he acted out of his religious beliefs and that he would do “exactly the same” if he were ever set free.

The court has heard claims Mr Bouyeri killed Mr Van Gogh in a ritualistic murder committed in the name of radical Islam.

Recruitment claims

Mr Belkacem arrived in the UK in January and was arrested in June in connection with an extradition request from the Dutch authorities.

When he appeared before magistrates, police said the alleged offences against him involved firearms, forged documentation and terrorist-related recruitment.

Rosemary Fernandes, who detailed the allegations against Mr Belkacem in court, said computer files were found at his house in the Netherlands suggesting “the recruitment of persons for the Jihad“.

She said the authorities also discovered live ammunition and a blank-firing gun which could have been converted to take real bullets.


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July 20, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday July 21, 2005.
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