Judge to rule on extradition of Syrian wanted in U.S. for trying to buy fake passports

An Ontario Superior Court Justice will decide Friday if an extradition request will move forward for Nadal Diya, who is wanted in the U.S after he allegedly tried to buy fake passports from FBI agents.

Nadal Diya, 46, had not been to the United States in four years when Toronto police arrested him on Sept. 12, 2018 after a request from the U.S.

Diya had just arrived at Pearson International Airport after a long flight from Dubai where he lives.

Under the terms of Canada’s extradition treaty, the U.S. could request Diya’s arrest in Canada if he was wanted in connection with conduct considered criminal in both Canada and the United States, and if the offence carries a jail sentence of a year or more.

Once that threshold is met, the treaty compels Canada to act.

In Diya’s case, the Canadian charges would be “use of a forged document, and conspiracy to commit forgery.”

Superior Court Justice Gillian Roberts is expected to release her decision Friday after considering the documents and arguments presented by Diya’s lawyer and federal prosecutors at a hearing last week.

If she decides the case should go forward, it will ultimately be up to the federal minister of justice to decide whether Diya will be sent back to the U.S. after hearing submissions from the accused’s lawyer.

Diya used fake Guatemalan passport, U.S. agents allege

He and his lawyer declined to comment to CBC News at the hearing, but a U.S document submitted to the court highlights the details of Diya’s alleged offences.

Most of the anticipated evidence against him, according to the documents, will come from three FBI agents, an FBI confidential witness, and a special agent with the U.S  Department of Homeland Security.

American prosecutors allege Diya used a fake Guatemalan passport to open an account at a Bank of America branch, and tried to acquire more bogus passports with an accomplice to sell to Middle Eastern clients.

Diya and the accomplice unknowingly met with an undercover FBI agent and an FBI confidential witness on numerous occasions between  July and September of 2014 in Texas to negotiate the purchase of the passports, the document said.

If the case goes to trial in the U.S.,the FBI confidential witness is expected to testify that he met with Diya and his accomplice on August 14, 2014.

Diya asked to buy U.S. passport, witness alleges

The accomplice told him “he obtained 11 fraudulent Guatemalan passports in the past 18 months and said because his contact had recently increased the price for fraudulent passports, [he] was looking for a new supplier.”

Also at that meeting, the document states, Diya asked the FBI agent if he could buy a United States passport. The agent is expected to testify that he “negotiated a price of 150 thousand dollars,” but later Diya through an accomplice settled for  an a Argentinian passport at a cost of $10,000.

The FBI confidential witness is also expect to testify he was sent “two passport-sized photographs of Diya, and a photocopy of ten fingerprints.”

Diya, returned to the United Arab Emirates in September 2014 and tried to renew his U.S. tourist visa, but the application was denied, so he is no longer legally allowed to enter the United States.

If the judge decides the U.S. extradition request for Diya isn’t justified, he will be discharged. If extradition is ordered, he will be taken into custody, but has the right to appeal the judge’s decision.

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