Sunday 18 February 2018

Al-Qa'ida supporter who financed terror network faces deportation

Remy Farrell Picture: Collins Courts.
Remy Farrell Picture: Collins Courts.
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The Islamic terrorist at the centre of a deportation battle raised money for jihadists and was a follower of al-Qa'ida, the High Court has heard.

The court cleared the way for his deportation yesterday after refusing him leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.

Despite the ruling his legal team sought to petition the Supreme Court anyway last night.

They fear his life will be in danger if he is returned to his home country, where he received life and death sentences in the 1990s for his involvement with an Islamist terror organisation whose aim was the introduction of sharia law.

However, they were unable to secure a sitting in front of the country's highest court and will now try to get one on Monday, by which stage the man may already have been deported.

Yesterday's ruling coincided with the man being released from Wheatfield Prison after completing a six-month sentence for possession of a false Belgian passport while boarding a flight at Dublin Airport.

He was met outside the prison shortly after 11am by officers from the Garda National Immigration Bureau who arrested him on foot of a deportation order and took him into custody at Cloverhill Prison.

The man, whose name and country of origin cannot be identified for legal reasons, came to Ireland in 1997 and secured refugee status here in 2000 after lying about his background. He was subsequently jailed in France in 2005 for his role in a plot to commit terror offences in France, Spain, Andorra, Ireland and England.

The man was returned to Ireland after serving that sentence. His refugee status was revoked and he has been battling against deportation since 2012.

Further details of his activities were disclosed by a lawyer acting for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald yesterday.

Remy Farrell SC provided the court with some information included in a report supplied to the Justice Minister in February last year. This noted how a brother had told a French court the man was "totally in concert with others who were raising money for jihad".

The brother also told the court that the man believed al-Qa'ida "was a good model to follow".

The same report said the man had been found to have played a central role in a large international organisation which had generated cash to finance an Islamic terror network.

The report noted the man's convictions in his home country, which related to acts of terror and the taking of human life.

Mr Farrell said the man was considered a threat to national security and that he had sought to leave the jurisdiction last year under a false identity.

He said the man had "lied consistently not just for his own benefit but also to allow him to commit terrorist offences within the EU". The barrister said the man remained a risk even if he was in the prison system.

Mr Justice Humphreys refused to grant the application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal and a subsequent application for a short stay on deportation to allow for an appeal request to be made to the Supreme Court.

In a ruling he said it was not in the public interest for the man to be permitted to bring his case to the Court of Appeal.

The judge ordered that a stay on the man's deportation be discharged forthwith.

He also said reporting restrictions on the man's country of origin would continue for at least two months after he is removed from the State.

The man's barrister, David Leonard, made several arguments to the court.

He argued the man would be irrevocably prejudiced if he was deported to his home country and that a refugee appeals tribunal had found he would be at risk of torture. But these arguments were rejected by Mr Justice Humphreys.

The judge said he was of the view there was an enormously strong argument for the deportation order being implemented.

He said the man's brother had been deported to their home country and had not come to any harm.

Mr Justice Humphreys said the man's credibility was minimal as he had lied to gain refugee status in Ireland.

He noted the man had attempted to flee the jurisdiction using a false passport.

The judge said the man had committed a fraud on the immigration system and had used his presence in Ireland to commit terrorism offences here and in other states.

In a separate ruling last week, Mr Justice Humphreys detailed how the man was originally denied refugee status after arriving in Ireland in 1997.

But he secured asylum in 2000 after duping a refugee appeals tribunal about his background.

His application was made under a false name and he falsely claimed his parents and brother were killed by extremists.

Irish Independent

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