August 7, 2005

UK police arrest suspected militant on U.S. warrant

By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) - British police arrested suspected
militant Haroon Rashid Aswad on Sunday on a U.S. extradition
warrant which accuses him of setting up a militant training
camp in Oregon.

The 30-year-old British citizen was arrested at Northolt
military airbase in northwest London after being deported from
Zambia and is due to appear in court in central London on

British police said the U.S. warrant accuses Aswad of
plotting with others between October 1999 and April 2000 to
train and equip people to fight in Afghanistan.

"He was arrested under a provisional extradition warrant
issued by (London's) Bow Street Magistrates Court on behalf of
the U.S. authorities early on Sunday," a police statement said.

Aswad was arrested on July 20 in Zambia.

Initial media reports linked him to the July 7 London
suicide bombings, but British police say he is not thought to
be involved in those attacks.

Interpol said last week it had issued an arrest warrant for
Aswad on behalf of the United States, which led to his
detention in Zambia.

In Lusaka a senior Zambian security source told Reuters
earlier on Sunday that British security officials had flew into
Lusaka on Saturday on a "special mission aircraft" to take
Aswad to Britain.

"Aswad was finally handed over to British security
officials on Saturday evening after the completion of
investigations in Zambia," the security source said.

Aswad's extradition, initially expected by diplomats last
Wednesday, had been delayed to allow for more investigations
into his links with Pakistan, the security source said.

"Investigations on his suspected terrorist links in
Pakistan were completed during the week and now he is entirely
in the hands of the British," the source said.

"There were discussions during the investigations here in
Lusaka to the effect that he might be handed over to the United
States by British authorities once they complete further
investigations in London."

Zambian officials said last week that British security
officials and representatives of the U.S. Central Intelligence
Agency were in Lusaka and that the British team had been
allowed to interrogate Aswad. (reporting by Peter Griffiths)