LONDON (AFP) -Britain is responsible for the collapse of an Italian trial of a terror suspect, by failing to extradite him in time, the Times daily reported.
Italian officials claim that Britain has taken so long to extradite Farj Hassan Faraj that a three-year deadline has passed and he can no longer face trial in Milan for plotting bomb attacks in Europe, the paper said.
Faraj, 24, has been described as the ”European envoy” for Iraqi terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is blamed for car bomb attacks on US and British troops and the murder of Western hostages.
London is blaming Rome, the paper added, saying that Italian prosecutors had not told them that the deadline was imminent. Officials in Rome insisted that Britain should have known the rules and that despite promises to fast-track the handover of terror suspects, Faraj had been held since May 2002.
Britain, embarrassed by missing the deadline, is now considering what to do with the Libyan-born suspect, who Italian police claim was linked with a plot to attack an underground network in Europe, The Times reported.
A British judge approved Faraj”s extradition last December but Home Secretary Charles Clarke allowed Faraj”s solicitors time to make final representations, and the deadline passed.
"All Britain needed to do was inform Faraj that he was on investigation and the process could have continued but they haven”t even done that and the time limit has passed," Italian prosecutor Massimo Meroni complained to the paper.
A British Home Office spokesman confirmed to the paper that the extradition warrant for Faraj had been withdrawn.