Gunrunner Holck avoids Indian extradition

Notorious Danish gunrunner Niels Holck will not be extradited to India, after Denmark’s Director of Public Prosecutions rejected a call by the Indian government to appeal a Supreme Court ruling.

Holck admits being part of a team which dropped weapons, including anti-tank missiles, Kalashnikovs and sniper rifles, over the town of Purulia, West Bengal, in 1995.

“My decision means that the Eastern High Court ruling not to extradite Niels Holck stands,” Director of Public Prosecutions Jorgen Steen Sorensen said in a written statement. “The District Court as well as the High Court ruled in favour of Niels Holck, finding that extradition to India would be contrary to section 6(2) of the Extradition Act. According to this provision, extradition may not take place if there is a risk that the subject in question will be exposed to torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment after extradition,” Sorensen continued.

The Danish author and humanitarian admitted in his book, They Call me a Terrorist, that he was part of an arms running operation in India. He claims he carried out the drops in order to help the people of West Bengal fight the oppression of their government.

On December 17, 1995, Purulia residents contacted the police after finding the weapons that were dropped from a Latvian-registered and crewed aircraft. On its return flight through Indian air space from Thailand, military jets forced the plane to land, but Holck managed to evade capture.

“It is very difficult to describe having had to adjust to the idea of perhaps going to die, only to get one’s life back. It takes time to get used to life again,” Holck said after the announcement, according to a Politiken report.