Germany delivers suspect in U.S. embassy bombings Officials allege Salim is key figure in plot

December 21, 1998|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

BERLIN -- Germany extradited to the United States yesterday a man suspected of playing a central role in the organization that the U.S. government said bombed its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August.

Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, who was arrested in Munich in September, was handed over to U.S. officials at the Munich airport and left on a special flight, judicial officials said.

Washington believes Salim, 40, is a top aide to Osama bin Laden, who has been accused by prosecutors in the United States of being the leader of the group that bombed the embassies, killing more than 200 people.

In particular, Salim has been described in U.S. government documents as a manager of finances for bin Laden, and an important intermediary in the group's efforts to buy arms and material for nuclear weapons. He is accused of conspiring to murder Americans abroad and use weapons of mass destruction.

Salim denied the charges, but his attempts to fight extradition ended this month when Germany's highest court dismissed his appeal.

German officials said the United States had been obliged to guarantee that Salim would not face the death penalty. German law prohibits extradition of suspects to countries where they could face execution.

That U.S. commitment could complicate the task of federal prosecutors, who have already said "the death penalty will seriously be considered" in the case of two other defendants who are widely considered to have played a far less important role than Salim in bin Laden's organization.

Pub Date: 12/21/98

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