WASHINGTON, D.C. - An Iraqi-born Dutch citizen has been indicted by a grand jury in Washington, D.C. for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to attack Americans based in Iraq, Assistant Attorney Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein of the District of Columbia announced today. These are the first U.S. criminal charges connected to terrorist activities in Iraq.
The indictment charges Wesam Al Delaema, a/k/a Wesam Khalaf Chayed Delaeme, with six counts: conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens abroad; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives); conspiracy to maliciously damage or destroy U.S. government property by means of an explosive; possession of a destructive device (explosives) during a crime of violence; conspiracy to possess a destructive device (explosives) during a crime of violence; and teaching or demonstrating the making or use of an explosive with the intent to further a crime of violence. A criminal complaint had previously been filed against Delaema on July 27, 2005, charging four of these offenses.
Delaema, 32, was born in Fallujah, Iraq. He was arrested by Dutch law enforcement authorities on May 2, 2005 and was facing similar charges in that country. Since his arrest, Dutch law enforcement and prosecution authorities have worked cooperatively with the FBI in its investigation of Delaema’s alleged terrorist activities. Following the filing of the U.S. criminal complaint against Delaema in July, the United States informed the Dutch authorities of its intention to request Delaema’s extradition to face the charges filed here. Shortly thereafter, Dutch authorities announced that Delaema had been transferred into extradition custody in response to the request from the United States. The indictment returned today will now serve as the charges for which the United States will seek Delaema’s extradition from the Netherlands.
The indictment alleges that Delaema traveled from the Netherlands to Iraq in October 2003 and met up with a group of co-conspirators calling themselves the “Mujahideen from Fallujah,” who declared their intentions to kill Americans in Iraq using explosives. The indictment further alleges that Delaema and his co-conspirators hid explosives in a road in the area of Fallujah, Iraq.
The investigation into this matter was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from the Dutch National Police Agency, the National Office of the Public Prosecutor in the Netherlands and the Office of International Affairs in the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. The prosecutors handling the case are Justice Department Trial Attorney Gregg N. Sofer of the Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg A. Maisel of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
If convicted on the charges filed in the criminal indictment filed today, Delaema faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant violated a criminal law. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.