Thursday 19 April 2018

'Black Flag' terrorism suspect facing extradition to US

Brian Kavanagh

AN Algerian man known as 'The Black Flag' has appeared before the High Court facing extradition to the US on international terrorism charges.

Ali Charaf Damache (47) was arrested on Wednesday afternoon by gardai in Waterford courthouse only minutes after pleading guilty to sending a menacing phone call to US Muslim activist Majed Moughni.

The charges arose after Damache was arrested in March 2010 as part of an unrelated investigation into a conspiracy to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who sparked a controversy with a depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.

Damache, who has lived in Ireland for a decade, unexpectedly pleaded guilty on day six of his trial to sending a menacing message by phone and was sentenced to three years.

As he had been in custody since March 2010, he was freed.

The charges on the US indictment relate to conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists and to attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

Sgt Derek Hughes said he arrested Damache at Waterford courthouse on foot of a High Court warrant.

He said he handed Damache copies of the warrant, the certificate from the Minister of Justice, the extradition request and the diplomatic note.

Sgt Hughes said that al-though Damache is proficient in English, he requested a trans-lator at Waterford garda station. The officer there contacted an interpreter and conversed with Damache via the interpreter using a speaker phone.

Sgt Hughes said he read and explained in detail the contents of the warrant to Damache and was satisfied he understood.

Mr Justice John Edwards remanded Damache in custody to appear again next Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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