Danish Prosecutors Approve Extradition of Suspect in 1995 India Arms Smuggling Case
In a significant development, Danish prosecutors have granted approval for the extradition of a Danish national suspected of being involved in an arms smuggling case in India nearly three decades ago. However, the final decision rests with a court of law, which will carefully consider the matter. The accused individual, Niels Holck, has confessed to his participation in an operation that involved dropping assault rifles, rocket launchers, and missiles from a cargo plane in eastern India in 1995. Indian authorities assert that these weapons were intended for an Indian revolutionary group.
While British and Latvian nationals were apprehended by Indian law enforcement at the time, Holck, previously known as Niels Christian Nielsen, managed to evade capture. The Danish prosecutor, Henriette Rosenborg Larsen, explained that Denmark thoroughly examined the Indian extradition request made in 2016 and concluded that the requirements outlined in the extradition act have been fulfilled.
The decision regarding Holck’s extradition now lies with a district court, which will determine whether the accused should be handed over to India. It’s important to note that any ruling made can be subject to appeal at a higher court. If Holck is extradited and subsequently convicted in India, he would serve any prison sentence in Denmark, according to Rosenborg Larsen.
India initially requested Denmark’s extradition of Holck, who is now in his early 60s, back in 2002. While the Danish government agreed to the request, two Danish courts overturned the decision, citing concerns that Holck would be at risk of torture or other forms of inhumane treatment in India. This resulted in strained diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Seven years ago, Danish authorities announced that they had received a fresh extradition request from India. Holck’s lawyer, Jonas Christoffersen, expressed confidence in the judicial process, stating that they firmly believe the courts will once again conclude that his client cannot be extradited. Christoffersen emphasized that the potential risks Holck faces in India have not diminished and that no significant changes have occurred.
The decision to approve the extradition of the suspect involved in the 1995 India arms smuggling case marks a critical juncture in the legal proceedings. The final outcome will have implications for both Denmark and India, as they navigate the complexities of justice, diplomacy, and bilateral relations.