Alleged Iraqi Insurgent Extradited to the United States

An accused insurgent believed to be the first individual to be charged with directly participating in the Iraq insurgency in the United States pleaded not guilty today in federal court.

The indictment alleges that Wesam Al Delaema, a 33-year-old Iraqi-born Dutch citizen, traveled from the Netherlands to Iraq in October 2003 with a group of co-conspirators who called themselves the "Mujahideen from Fallujah." The group, the indictment says, declared intentions to kill Americans in Iraq using explosives and alleges that that they hid explosives "in a road in or around Fallujah, Iraq."

In a hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the clerk read the six charges as Delaema, unshackled and dressed in his own clothes, stood before Judge Paul Friedman

Charges against Delaema include: conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens abroad; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives); conspiracy to maliciously damage or destroy U.S. government property by means of an explosive; possession of a destructive device (explosives) during a crime of violence; conspiracy to possess a destructive device (explosives) during a crime of violence; and teaching or demonstrating the making or use of an explosive with the intent to further a crime of violence.

Delaema waived the use of a translator and briefly smiled when meeting his court-appointed attorneys.

"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," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Wainstein of the Justice Department's National Security Division.

At the time of his arrest in the Netherlands, foreign media outlets reported that Dutch anti-terrorism police found video tapes of insurgent attacks and operations in Iraq at Delaema's residence.

Delaema was extradited to the United States from the Netherlands late Saturday night by the FBI and U.S. Marshals. He will be held without bond until his status conference and detention hearing on February 5.

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