Minister: Norway to extradite cleric if Italy convicts him

Norway's justice minister says an Iraqi-born cleric suspected of enticing recruits to fight in Iraq and Syria will be extradited if a court in Italy convicts him.

Norwegian newspaper Nettavisen reported Saturday that Najmaddin Faraj Ahmad's trial is scheduled to start Wednesday without the Norway-based cleric known as Mullah Krekar being physically present in court.

Italian prosecutors allege that Krekar is behind Rawti Shax, a European network aimed at violently overthrowing the government in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and replacing it with a radical caliphate.

Krekar has denied the allegations.

Norwegian Justice Minister Per-Willy Amundsen told Nettavisen that Krekar should be sent to Italy, if he is found guilty.

Krekar tried to fight a previous extradition request from Italy, which courts in Norway approved before the request was withdrawn.