Since there is a lively discussion in the comment section of this posting about the release of Islamist terrorist Mohammad Ali Hammadi from German prison I would like to provide an interesting quote from DEBKAfile (hat tip Thomas):
Ernst Uhrlau, Angela Merkel’s new head of the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, is revealed by DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources as the man behind Berlin’s secret decision to trade German archeologist Susanne Osthoff kidnapped in Iraq on Nov. 25 for the jailed Hizballah terrorist wanted in America, Mohammad Ali Hammadi. ...
A US extradition warrant was on file in Berlin with a promise it would take effect if the hijacker were ever released. A few days after the terrorist was flown to Beirut, Osthoff was freed by her Iraqi insurgent captors.
We will keep an eye on the development of this case in the near future... Here's more on the Hammadi case from Debbi Schlussel.
In other news: U.S. hostage said killed in Iraq.
Update: There is lengthy discussion about the case in this state department briefing of Dec. 20. While some of the legal issues involved are not precisely defined, it is clear from spokesman Sean McCormack's statement that the U.S. government is not happy about Germany's decision to release Hammadi:
...let me just say that the United States will make every effort to see that this individual, Mohammad Ali Hammadi, faces justice in a United States court for his role in the murder of Mr. Stethem. At the time of his arrest, the United States sought to extradite Mr. Hammadi to the United States in order for him to stand trial here. Germany, at that time, made the decision to assert jurisdiction over the case and he was tried and convicted and sentenced in Germany. In the years since his arrest and conviction, the United States has made its views known that Hammadi should face trial in the U.S. for the murder of Mr. Stethem and that we have demonstrated over the years that when an individual -- we believe an individual is responsible for the murder of innocent American civilians that we will track them down and that we will bring them to justice in the United States. ... I know that this has been an issue that we have tracked over time with German authorities. You know, I can't tell you if an initial extradition request again serves as a continuing extradition request. I'm not a lawyer. I can't tell you those things. I do know that we have been in contact with German authorities over the years regarding this case.