Sunday 4 December 2016

Man convicted of terrorism offences abroad challenges State's decision to deport him

Tim Healy

Published 19/10/2016 | 17:54

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AN Algerian man with alleged links to terrorism has brought a High Court challenge against the State's attempt to deport him.

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The man opposes the Minister for Justice's decision that he should be deported on the grounds he is at risk of being tortured and suffering inhuman and degrading treatment if returned to Algeria due to his political views.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has been convicted of terrorism and terrorism related offences in other jurisdictions.

Gardai have informed the Minister that man's activities and associates, in Ireland and outside the country, are considered to be "of serious concern" and contrary to the State's security.

The man strongly denies claims he is involved in terrorism, inside or outside of the state.

He has been living in Ireland for several years and is aged in his early 50's.

Before he left Algeria, the man says he was convicted of criminal offences, which he denies, and was sentenced to death.

Algeria currently has a moratorium on capital punishment and the North African nation has not carried out an execution since 1993.

However, he says, if he is returned he is at serious risk of being tortured. He said he and his brothers have been tortured in the past because of their political opinions.

Arising out of the Minister's decision to exclude him from the state he has brought a High Court challenge against the deportation order.

In his proceedings the man claims the Minister's decision ignores a finding by the Refugee Appeal's Tribunal(RAT) when considering his application for subsidiary protection that in the man's case there is "a personal, present, foreseeable and substantial risk of serious harm by the Algerian authorities."

Despite finding there was a risk of serious harm to the man if returned to Algeria, the RAT excluded him from subsidiary protection due to his having been convicted in France of an offence of membership of a criminal organisation preparing an act of terrorism based on acts committed in France and other countries.

The man argues the Minister should not have made an order to depart him where there is a finding there is a real risk he will suffer serious harm.

To do so, he claims, is a breach of European law.

The Minister opposes the man's challenge.

The matter came before the court Wednesday (Oct 19) when Mr Justice Richard Humphreys, after hearing submissions from lawyers for the man and the State adjourned the matter to next week.

The court heard the man first arrived in Ireland in the late 1990s under a false identity.  In 2000 he was recognised as a refugee.

Shortly afterwards he went to France to visit relatives. He was subsequently arrested, convicted and jailed for seven years by a French court for terrorist related offences.

On his release he applied for asylum in France, which was refused. He returned to Ireland in 2009.  His refugee status was revoked in Ireland because his application here was based on false documentation.

The man says he regrets using false documents and misleading the Irish authorities but did so to avoid the death penalty.

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