Convicted Iraq war roadside bomber in Dutch trial

Associatedpress and Associatedpress

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A Dutch citizen convicted of conspiring to kill Americans with roadside bombs in the Iraq war was flown back to the Netherlands Tuesday to serve his sentence, his lawyer said.

A court in Washington, D.C., sentenced Wesam al-Delaema last April to 25 years. He is expected to serve less than that in the Netherlands, in line with normal Dutch sentences and detention regulations.

Al-Delaema, who was born in Iraq, returned to his hometown of Fallujah in October 2003, after the U.S. invasion. He videotaped himself showing off roadside bombs buried in the sand and praying to Allah that the explosives would kill American troops passing by.

U.S. prosecutors said it was impossible to determine whether al-Delaema’s bombs killed any Americans. They noted that within the next 10 days, four Americans were killed in two roadside bomb explosions in the area.

His lawyer, Victor Koppe, said al-Delaema arrived in the Netherlands on Tuesday morning and was taken to a top-security jail in the town of Vught. Prosecutors did not return a call seeking confirmation of his arrival.

Koppe said a sentencing hearing would be scheduled at a court in Rotterdam within two months where “it will be decided how the American sentence will be transformed into a Dutch sentence.”

Judges are likely to take into account “his detention conditions in the U.S., the kind of facts he was convicted of, what he would get for that in Holland,” Koppe said.

Koppe said the maximum Dutch sentence for conspiring to commit a terrorist offense is 10 years.

Al-Delaema is the only Iraq war insurgent convicted by a U.S. court.

The United States agreed to return al-Delaema to the Netherlands as part of an extradition agreement under which he would be tried in a U.S. court. He was extradited from a Dutch jail cell in 2007.

He had fought extradition, arguing he was forced to make the bomb video after being kidnapped and beaten.

In a 2003 interview broadcast on Dutch television, al-Delaema accused the U.S. and its allies of waging war in Iraq to control its oil reserves.

“I don’t care if I myself die or not. I want to offer myself up for my land, for my people. I’m not more or less important than the women and children who you see on television dying because of America,” al-Delaema said.

His family said the interview was intended as a joke.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.