Wednesday 22 November 2017

Algerian man with suspected terror links wins injunction preventing deportation

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Aodhan O'Faolain

An Algerian man who was recently arrested by Gardai on suspicion of being involved in terrorism has secured a temporary High Court preventing his deportation from the state.

The man who has been living in Ireland since 2012 has challenged the deportation made against him over fears he may be tortured and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights if returned to Algeria  due to his "imputed political opinion."

The man was tried and acquitted of a terrorist offence in Algeria in 2009. In recent weeks he was arrested and detained by the Gardai in Dublin, before being released.  

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, denies he has any "connection or interest in terrorist activities" and says he is a "peace loving person."  He is currently in custody on foot of the deportation order.

At the High Court on Friday lawyers acting for the man sought permission to challenge a decision made by the Minister for Justice on April 28th last to issue a deportation order in respect of the man.

The man wants the deportation order quashed on several grounds including the decision is irrational, and that irrelevant considerations were taken into account by the Minister.

It was also argued that the Minister did not properly examine the risks that might be faced by the man upon his return to Algeria.

He also sought an injunction preventing his deportation on the basis he fears he will be tortured if returned to Algeria.

His action is against the Minister and the State.

Mr Justice Tony O'Connor is his ruling dismissed the application to challenge the Minister's decision.

The Judge said while a good argument had been made on the man's behalf by his legal team a "sufficient argument" that would "allow the case go forward" had not been made out. 

However the Judge said he was prepared to allow the man appeal his decision to the Court of Appeal.

In order to facilitate the appeal the judge granted the man a temporary injunction preventing the state from deporting the man. The injunction is to remain in place until next Friday.

Seeking the orders the man's barrister Paul O'Shea Bl, instructed by Travers and Company Solicitors, said the man arrived in Ireland in 2012, having left Algeria a year previously, and applied for asylum.

In his application the man claimed he worked for an Algerian charity, whose head supported Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria.

Arising out of the his former bosses activities the man says he was arrested, detained and tortured by the Algerian authorities.

Following his release he claims he was approached by terrorists wanting him to join. He also claims that the Algerian secret service also approached him and asked him to work for it as a spy.

When he refused to do so he claimed the secret service harassed him.

The man's application for asylum was refused in 2013.

He then made an application for subsidiary protection, which was deemed withdrawn after the man failed to turn up for an interview with the authorities.

Counsel said it was accepted that the man had "not behaved well" while in Ireland. The man had been involved in a marriage to an EU citizen which was found to be a sham.

Arising out of the marriage he had obtained certain residency rights, which were subsequently revoked by the state.

Quoting several reports from various bodies, including Amnesty International, counsel said there was sufficient information about Algeria to show it was arguable his client is at risk of being detained and ill treated on his arrival back to Algeria.

The man in a sworn statement to the court said that fact he was tried for terrorism offences in Algeria coupled with the fact he was arrested in Ireland would draw the Algerian authorities attention to him.

He said he does not know why the Irish authorities had suspicions he was involved in terrorist related activities.  He speculated that it was based on information that came from a third party.

He suspects that there is every chance that the same information that was given to the Gardai was also given to the Algerian authorities, which he says places him "in grave danger."

He said that he believes that if deported he would most likely on arrival "be taken into custody and mistreated" in one of "the notorious places of detention" where the Algerian authorities "are known to carry out with immunity acts contrary to the ECHR."

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