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Kosovo terror suspect wanted in U.S. released

PRISTINA (Reuters) - A European Union judge in Kosovo has released from detention a Kosovo Albanian man wanted on U.S. terrorism charges but he must report to police twice a week, an EU mission spokeswoman said on Friday.

Bajram Asllani, 29, was arrested on Thursday by Kosovo and EU police after U.S. prosecutors in North Carolina accused him of providing material support to terrorism suspects and conspiring to kill and hurt people abroad.

“He has to report to police twice a week,” Kristiina Herodes, a spokeswoman from the EU police and justice mission (EULEX) said. “The prosecutor will have a close look at the written decision by the judge and then will decide to appeal against the decision or not.”

Two years after declaring independence, Kosovo’s fragile peace is still maintained by some 10,000 NATO troops and 2,000 police, judges and prosecutors from the EU.

Despite the decision from the EU judge, Herodes said that now it is up to the Kosovo government whether Asllani will be extradited to the United States or not.

Asllani was accused of soliciting money from a group of men in North Carolina who were arrested last year for an alleged plot to attack a U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, according to U.S. prosecutors.

The seven men arrested in North Carolina were also charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and for conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people overseas, including in Kosovo, Jordan and the Gaza Strip.

“I personally have asked to be extradited to the United States because I am not afraid of U.S. justice, I believe in justice because I am innocent,” Asllani told local media in his town in Mitrovica after he was released.

He said that Americans are good people and he has nothing against them.

The United States is the biggest supporter of Kosovo’s independence and has 1,480 troops on the ground.

Last month Kosovo detained five people suspected of belonging to the radical Wahhabi school of Islam and seized a large cache of weapons. Two of the detainees were Kosovo Albanians and the three others Bosnian Muslims from Kosovo.

Around 90 percent of Kosovo’s population is Muslim, with just four percent Roman Catholics, but Kosovo remains a largely secular country.

Reporting by Fatos Bytyci