Wednesday 21 February 2018

Court blocks deportation of convicted Islamic terrorist described as a ‘threat to national security’

Cloverhill Prison in west Dublin
Cloverhill Prison in west Dublin
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A stay has been put on the deportation of a convicted Islamic terrorist pending the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal.

Although the court decided to allow the man lodge an appeal earlier this week, lawyers for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said today they intended to proceed with the deportation anyway.

Barrister Sinead McGrath said the man was considered “a threat to national security”.

But the man’s legal team successfully applied for a short stay on the deportation order being executed until the outcome of the appeal is known. His barrister, Michael Lynn SC, has said the man is at risk of torture if returned to his home country.

The man, whose name and country of origin cannot be disclosed for legal reasons, is currently being detained in Cloverhill Prison and will remain there for the duration of his appeal.

Earlier this month the High Court cleared the way for his deportation after hearing evidence of terror convictions in his native country and France.

A dossier compiled for the Justice Minister said evidence had been given in a French court that he had raised money for jihadists and was a follower of al-Qa’ida.

The High Court also heard he had received life and death sentences in his home country for involvement in a terrorist organisation and murder. Death sentences are no longer implemented there.

The man never served any of the sentences in his home country. Instead he fled to Ireland where he gained refugee status in 2000 after giving false information about his background.

This was revoked following his convictions in France and he has been battling deportation from Ireland since 2012.

Giving reasons for allowing an appeal, a three-judge Supreme Court said a number of questions of general importance arose which needed to be clarified. These included whether or not the minister should have invited submissions from the man on material which suggested he would not be in danger if returned to his home country.

The court will also examine if reasons identified by the minister provided a sufficient lawful basis for deportation.

The matter will return to the court next month for a case management hearing.

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