A Syrian arms dealer who allegedly conspired to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to Colombian rebels has been extradited from Spain to the United States, the US Justice Department said Friday...
Monzer al-Kassar faces five counts of federal terrorism charges, along with two accomplices, and a minimum of 25 years in jail if convicted. He arrived in New York and was expected to make his first court appearance Friday afternoon, the department said.
Spain handed al-Kassar over to US authorities earlier Friday after his extradition had been authorized by the government a week earlier. Spain's National Court approved the extradition on the condition that the death penalty would not be applied to al-Kassar, and that he would not be jailed for his entire life.
Al-Kassar is suspected of supplying weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as well as a number of other armed factions around the globe since the 1970s.
The Justice Department said he was caught in a sting operation trying to sell weapons to FARC - Colombia's largest leftwing rebel group and designated a terrorist organization by the United States.
Al-Kassar was detained a year ago at Madrid airport after flying in from the southern Costa del Sol, where he has lived since 1980.
The National Court said al-Kassar had supplied weapons to groups in Nicaragua, Brazil, Cyprus, Bosnia, Croatia, Somalia, Iran and Iraq.
Al-Kassar had fought his extradition on the grounds that the US would not grant an Arab a fair trial.