Dutch-Turkish man appears in U.S. court on terrorism charges

Dutch-Turkish man appears in U.S. court on terrorism charges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Dutch-Turkish national accused of raising funds and recruiting in Europe for an Islamist militant group active in Afghanistan has been extradited to the United States and charged with terrorism offenses, the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday.

Irfan Demirtas, 56, accused of providing support for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, appeared in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia on Monday, the Justice Department said in a statement.

He faces charges that he “raised money and recruited fighters for a foreign terrorist organization battling the Afghan government and its allies, including U.S. troops,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent Cohen Jr.

Demirtas, also known as Nasrullah, was arrested in Germany in January on a warrant and extradited to the United States on Friday, the statement said.

He was charged in the United States in December 2011 in a sealed four-count indictment for activities from at least January 2006 through May 2008, it said.

The charges include using or carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, which carries “up to a mandatory 30-year prison sentence,” the statement said.

Demirtas’ activities allegedly took place in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Jordan, the Netherlands, France and elsewhere outside the United States, it said.

(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Peter Cooney)