Oussama Kassir

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Oussama Abdallah Kassir
Born 01 (1966) (age 48)
Beirut, Lebanon
Arrested 2005-12-11
Prague, Czech Republic
Czech officials
Citizenship Sweden

Oussama Abdallah Kassir (Arabic: أسامة عبدالله قصير‎ born 12 January 1966) is a Lebanese-born Swedish militant Islamist.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Kassir was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He came to Sweden in 1984 and was granted Swedish citizenship in 1989. He participated in the Lebanese Civil War during the 1980s and was hurt in battle. His last address in Sweden is an apartment in Bandhagen in southern Stockholm.[3]

In September 2002 Kassir told The Seattle Times that, though not technically a member of Al-Qaeda, he was a "supporter" of Osama bin Laden: "I love Al-Qaeda ... I love Osama bin Laden."[4]

Swedish criminal conviction[edit]

In Sweden he was convicted of possession of illegal firearms, assault and battery of a policeman, and a drug related offense. He spent ten months in prison for possession of illegal firearms. While serving his sentence at the Österåker Prison he became a friend of Kérim Chatty, who was suspected of attempted hijacking of a Ryanair flight in Västerås but cleared of all terrorism-related charges.[5]

United States criminal trial[edit]

Ousama Kassir was disappointed by how primitive the facilities were at the Dog Cry Ranch.[2]

Kassir was arrested in Prague, Czech Republic, while on his way to Beirut, on December 11, 2005, on a warrant filed by United States federal prosecutors.[4] He was charged with conspiring to support terrorism by traveling from London to Bly, Oregon, in 1999 to help set up a jihad training camp.[4] Kassir and another man, Haroon Rashid Aswat, were sent to the camp by Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical London-based cleric. Kassir and Aswat lived for several weeks at a Central District mosque before traveling to Oregon where they met up with the camp founder James Ujaama and several other persons.[4] The complaint states that Kassir spent nearly two months in Bly, where he, according to unidentified witnesses, trained others to use firearms, set up perimeter patrols on the property and was "in possession of at least one compact disc about improving poisons."[4] The complaint further alleges that Kassir had trained for jihad in Afghanistan, Kashmir and Lebanon.[4] On September 25, 2007 Kassir was extradited from Prague to the United States to face trial.[6]

On May 12 2009 Kassir was found guilty by a federal jury on all eleven charges brought against him. The jury deliberated for a mere five and a half hours.[7] The verdict came despite the fact that several of the charges had been investigated and dropped in Sweden, a fact which was explained by terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp: "There is a difference in respect to what kind of evidence is required for someone to be sentenced in European and American courts in cases like this." He continued: "I am not that impressed by the evidential requirements of the American judicial system." He did not, however, exclude the possibility of Kassir being guilty.[8] The perceived difficulty of obtaining a fair trial in terrorism trials in America was also criticized by civil rights activists, who also noted that the charges had already been tried and dropped by Swedish authorities. A spokesperson for Charta 2008 stated: "I think it is very hard to get a fair trial for someone described as a terrorist in the USA. The jury system directly reflects existing prejudice."[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Trial record provides account of Oregon jihad camp". Komo News. 2009-10-18. Retrieved 2011-10-01. "In late 1999, Ujaama made a pitch to a London imam, Abu Hamza al-Masri. He promised al-Masri a safe haven, recruits and weapons to transform the desert ranch into a Muslim military training camp, court records said."  mirror
  2. ^ a b Les Zaitz (2009-10-17). "Terrorist plot unravels at rural Oregon ranch". Oregon Live. Retrieved 2012-04-30. "The events that led to the effort 10 years ago to establish a jihad camp outside Bly have been well-chronicled. But testimony and exhibits from Kassir's trial in New York provide the fullest account to date of what went on behind the gates of the Dog Cry Ranch."  mirror
  3. ^ "Svensk man sitter häktad i Prag för terrorbrott" (in Swedish). Efterlyst. 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2006-12-28. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d e f Carter, Mike (2005-12-14). "Islamic militant charged by feds". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2006-12-27. "Oussama Kassir, believed to be 39, was arrested Sunday in the Czech Republic capital of Prague on a warrant filed by U.S. prosecutors."  mirror
  5. ^ Nilsson, Torbjörn (2005-12-14). "Svensk kopplas till terrorgripen" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 2006-12-27.  mirror
  6. ^ "Swedish terror suspect extradited to United States". Agence France-Presse/The Local. 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2007-09-25. "A Czech court approved the extradition of Kassir, 41, back in April. His Czech lawyer appealed the decision, but an appeal court in Prague rejected the appeal, paving the way for him to be handed over to American custody."  mirror
  7. ^ Tobias Olsson (2009). "Svensk skyldig till terrorbrott" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 2009-05-12.  mirror
  8. ^ TT (2009). ""Skillnad mellan europeiska och amerikanska domstolar"" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 2009-05-12.  mirror
  9. ^ Hannes Delling (2009). "”Svårt att få en rättvis rättegång”" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 2009-05-12.  mirror