Prague, Feb 4 (CTK) – The Prague Municipal Court decided Thursday on the immediate release of Lebanese Ali Fayad from custody, after Justice Minister Robert Pelikan did not give his consent to Fayad’s extradition to the USA, the court’s spokeswoman Marketa Puci told CTK on Thursday.

Fayad’s lawyer Vladimir Ricica said he assumes that his client is on the way to Lebanon.

“It expect that it is so, but I cannot confirm it,” Ricica told CTK.

Strict security measures accompanied the departure of a Prison Service van that left the Prague custody prison in which Fayad stayed around 15:30, but nobody has confirmed that the van transported Fayad.

Media have speculated about Fayad to be swapped for five Czech citizens who had been kidnapped in Lebanon in mid-2015, released earlier this week and returned to the Czech Republic aboard a government plane earlier on Thursday.

Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said in a press interview that will be issued on Friday that the five Czechs were released from Lebanon on condition that Prague does not extradite Fayad to the United States.

Ali Fayad has stayed in Czech custody since April 2014 on suspicion of cooperation with terrorists. His extradition is sought by the USA.

The U.S. Embassy in Prague strongly criticised the Czech decision not to extradite Fayad to the United States. This will seriously harm the cooperation of the two countries’ law enforcement bodies and only encourage criminal groups and terrorists across the world, the embassy said.

According to the Czech news server, Prague consulted its plan to exchange its citizens abducted in Lebanon for Fayad with Washington beforehand.

The server writes that the real reason why the U.S. demanded Fayad’s extradition might not be the suspected crimes, but detailed information that Fayad had about arms trading related to Ukraine.

In mid-December 2015, the Prague High Court approved Fayad’s extradition to the USA and also the extradition of his two suspected accomplices – Faouzi Jaber and Khaled Marabi.

The three plead not guilty. They have protested against their possible extradition to the USA.

The final decision on their extradition was up to Justice Minister Pelikan. He was bound to decide by mid-March, within three months following the High Court´s decision.

The same decision Pelikan made on Fayad also applies to Marabi, Puci said.

Pelikan has not yet decided on whether to extradite the third suspect, Jaber, she added.