Monday 26 September 2016

'Recruiter poses patent threat' to Irish security

Published 29/12/2015 | 02:30

The High Court was told the man was recruiting extremists to join Isil, which has carried out a reign of propaganda terror led by the likes of Jihadi John
The High Court was told the man was recruiting extremists to join Isil, which has carried out a reign of propaganda terror led by the likes of Jihadi John
Mohammed Emwazi, known as "Jihadi John". Photo: Reuters

An intelligence operation led by senior gardaí working with their counterparts overseas has identified the alleged "main recruiter" in Ireland for Islamic extremists to wage 'Jihad' in Syria and other conflict zones, the High Court has heard.

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The man, in his 50s, who has been living in Ireland for the last 15 years, denies he is a recruiter for the so-called Islamic State.

Yesterday the High Court cleared the way for the man's deportation to a country in the Middle East after it sat to hear an emergency application by the State to lift a temporary injunction the man secured on December 21st last - the last day of the legal term - preventing his deportation.

The decision is expected to be appealed.

The man, who secured residency in Ireland on the basis of the birth of his now 15-year-old Irish-born son, was notified last March that the State intended to deport him.

This was because of his alleged role as an Isil recruiter and facilitator of travel of combatants to conflict zones including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The State also says the man is "consulted by and gives directions to senior, violent extremist leaders" outside of Ireland and poses what was described in court as a "patent threat" to national security.

Yesterday, a large cohort of officers including members of the Special Detective Unit and the Garda National Immigration Bureau attended the emergency sitting of the High Court.

The man, who says he will be persecuted or may even die if he is deported, also attended the hearing.

Moving the application to lift the injunction, Senior Counsel Remy Farrell, for the Department of Justice, said the man was involved in a "nihilistic organisation [Isil] that poses an existential threat" to Ireland and other countries.

The State, which denied any delay in making the deportation order on November 30, said the man had been given detailed reasons last March - when a notice to deport was issued - and that the man had not refused or engaged with them.

This was robustly challenged by Senior Counsel Michael Lynn, for the man, who said that his client denied the allegations.

Mr Lynn said that the issue of national security was a live issue that could not be resolved in the State's motion to vacate the earlier injunction.

Mr Lynn also said that national security was not capable of diluting the protections under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Mr Lynn opened details of a report on the man conducted by Spirasi, an Irish organisation that works with asylum seekers - and has a "special concern" for survivors of torture. The barrister said that the Spirasi report said the man's injuries were "highly consistent" with past torture and that the man's scars were also consistent with his description of alleged abuses by State forces in the Middle Eastern country against which he has fought deportation.

Mr Lynn said the deported man was at risk because was is now perceived as an Islamic extremist because of the Irish Government's allegations.

He also argued that the greatest injustice would be to discontinue the injunction because the central allegation being made against the man by the State was in dispute.

Mr Lynn said the court would be in breach of Article 3 if the injunction was to be removed.

This, Mr Lynn said, was because of the credible fear the man had of being arrested, and detained in his native country. Once this credible fear has been established the court could not allow the man to be deported until his case has been fully determined, said Mr Lynn.

In court papers, the suspected Isil recruiter said he was "deeply afraid of facing persecution, including torture" if he was returned to the country where his wife and children have been living since 2009.

His Irish-born son moved to that country in mid-2013 but returned to Ireland shortly after his father's residency was not renewed in January 2015 by the authorities here.

Timeline

February 2000

The man, his wife and three children arrive in Ireland. He applies for refugee status under the 'Hope Hanlon' Procedure, as The Refugee Act 1996 - which put the then administrative asylum procedures on a legislative footing - was not operative until November 2000.

June 2000

The man's wife gives birth to their son, allowing the family to apply for residency on the basis of an Irish-born Child (IBC).

August 2000

On the basis of their Irish-born son, the man withdraws his 'Hope Hanlon' refugee application and seeks residency instead.

February 2001

The family is granted residency to remain in Ireland on the basis of their Irish-born son.

2009

The wife and children move to a Middle Eastern country, with the man remaining in Ireland.

Mid-2013

The Irish-Born son now a 13 years of age, moves to the Middle Eastern country to live with his mother and siblings.

August 2014

The man's Irish residency expires.

January 2015

The man presents himself at the Garda National Bureau of Immigration to renew his residency.

He explains that his Irish-born son (the reason why he is entitled to residency) is not living in Ireland at present.

Residency is refused, but the son travels back to Ireland shortly after.

March 2015

The man is notified by authorities of allegations against him. A proposal to deport is issued.

November 30, 2015

A deportation order is issued.

December 21, 2015

On the last day of the legal term, the man secures an interlocutory injunction at the High Court preventing his deportation.

December 28, 2015

The High Court vacates the earlier injunction after the State says the man is "the foremost organiser and facilitator of travel by extremists prepared to undertake violent action" on behalf of Isil, and that he poses a threat to national security.

Irish Independent

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