A DUTCH national of Eritrean descent wanted for running an international human trafficking network has been extradited to the Netherlands following his arrest in Kenya last month, the country’s Directorate of Criminal Investigation revealed Monday.
The 53-year-old John Habeta is accused of facilitating the smuggling of several groups of Eritreans from Africa to Europe via routes through Asia.
The Netherlands has been seeking his arrest since 2017 and, following the issuance of an International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) Red Notice late last year, the fugitive was arrested by police on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
INTERPOL’s specialised unit on people smuggling named Habeta as a high priority target in October of 2020. The global policing body says they alerted Kenyan police to the fugitive’s presence in the country on December 10, 2021, acting on international intelligence leads.
Following a brief period of surveillance, Kenyan police executed the arrest, transporting Habeta to the Netherlands and passing him into Dutch custody at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport.
If convicted at trial, he faces up to eight years in prison for charges including people smuggling and the use of false identity documents.