A court in Hillerød yesterday overturned an order to extradite accused weapons smuggler Niels Holck to India. Against the wishes of then justice minister Lene Espersen, the Justice Ministry decided in April to have Holck extradited upon the request of the Indian government.
Holck, 48, is accused of being part of a group that dropped five tonnes of weapons, including Kalashnikovs and sniper rifles, near the town of Purulia in West Bengal in 1995.
The aircraft used in the drop moved into Thai airspace but later re-entered Indian airspace and was forced to land. The crew and a British national were all captured but one man, alleged to be Holck, escaped to Nepal where he boarded a plane to Frankfurt.
India has been calling for Holck’s return since 2002, when the Danish extradition laws were changed as a part of stricter anti-terror legislation.
However, Holck has been fighting the order, fearing he would be ill-treated in an Indian prison. The charges against him are a capital offence in India, but the Justice Ministry agreed to the extradition order on the condition that the he not be executed if convicted.