Courts hand over half of suspects sought in US
HALF of all the criminal suspects sought by the US here are surrendered by the Irish courts.
As the FBI seeks the extradition of a 28-year-old Irishman described as the "largest facilitator of child porn on the planet", a review of High Court rulings has shown that about 50pc of suspects sought by US authorities are handed over.
The figure could be higher as the available rulings do not include consent surrenders that are not contested in the courts.
US law enforcement officials are expected to formalise within days a request to extradite US-Irish national Eric Eoin Marques.
He is accused of being the sole administrator of an anonymous online hosting server that is allegedly home to more than 100 "anonymous websites" containing images described as extremely violent and graphic and depicting the rape and torture of pre-pubescent children.
If convicted of four charges of distributing, conspiring to distribute, advertising as well as aiding and abetting the advertisement of child porn, Mr Marques could be jailed for 30 years.
The extradition request, which followed a year-long joint operation by the FBI and gardai, has attracted global attention.
This is because the arrest of Mr Marques, believed to be the owner of Freedom Hosting, coincided with mass outages across the 'darknet' which allows people to trade and exchange anonymously over the internet.
Conor Flynn, an information and security specialist, said the arrest had generated huge upset in the internet underworld amid fears that criminal enterprises could be compromised if he is found guilty.
"There will be a significant level of concern about the potential infiltration and compromise of these networks and whether Mr Marques is in any position to co-operate with the US authorities," said the founder of Information Security Assurance Services.