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Czech court allows extradition of man charged in California torture case

PRAGUE (Reuters) - A Czech court has ruled that a 35-year-old man can be extradited to the United States to face charges of abducting, torturing and cutting off the penis of a California owner of a medical marijuana dispensary.

The man facing extradition, Hossein Nayeri, is one of four defendants who authorities say in October 2012 tried to force the dispensary owner to divulge the location of cash they mistakenly believed he had hidden in the desert.

The Prague municipal court ruled Nayeri, who was taken into custody in the Czech Republic last November, could be returned to the United States, a spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry, which will have the final decision on the extradition, was not available for comment. Nayeri can appeal the court's decision.

U.S. authorities said Nayeri had initially fled to Iran for several months. He was detained by the FBI in Prague while trying to make an airline connection to Spain to visit family there.

Each of the four defendants is charged with kidnapping, aggravated mayhem, torture and burglary, with a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury. All face a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

The victim, who was not identified, was described as the owner of a lucrative dispensary for marijuana, which is legal in California for medical purposes.

He survived the kidnapping and mutilation but was hospitalized for an extensive period of time. Police said the suspects who abducted him fled with his severed penis so that it could never be reattached.

(Reporting by Jan Strouhal; Writing by Jason Hovet; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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