Polad Omarov 

Czech Extradites Suspect In Iran-Backed Plot To Kill Dissident In US

Wednesday, 02/21/2024

The Czech Republic has extradited a suspect to the United States accused of plotting the Tehran-backed murder of a prominent critic of the Iranian government.

Polad Omarov was handed over to US authorities at Prague's Vaclav Havel Airport on Wednesday morning after his arrest in January last year. Despite the Justice Minister's ruling in favor of extradition back in July, the process encountered delays due to the suspect's appeal to the constitutional court, which was ultimately rejected.

Together with co-defendants Rafat Amirov and Khalid Mehdiyev, Omarov is charged with offenses including murder-for-hire and money laundering in connection with an alleged assassination attempt believed to be backed by Tehran. The target of the attempted assassination is a US citizen residing in Brooklyn, New York, known for vocal criticism of the Iranian government.

US authorities did not reveal the identity of the alleged victim when detailing the charges. 

Mehdiyev had previously faced arrest in New York in 2022 for possessing a rifle near the residence of journalist Masih Alinejad, the target of multiple Tehran-backed assassination attempts for her activism against the regime.

In a separate incident in 2021, US prosecutors indicted four individuals suspected of being Iranian intelligence operatives, alleging their involvement in a plot to abduct a journalist and activist in New York. Though the target was not explicitly named, Reuters confirmed the intended victim to be Alinejad.

US prosecutors have disclosed that Omarov held residency in both the Czech Republic and Slovenia. However, the Czech Justice Ministry clarified on Wednesday that he is, in fact, a citizen of Georgia.

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