Wednesday 13 December 2017

Expulsion of Islamic terrorist delayed by courts

Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The deportation of a convicted Islamic terrorist has been temporarily halted after the Supreme Court granted him leave to appeal.

The High Court had cleared the way for his deportation last Friday after hearing evidence the man raised money for jihadists and was a follower of al-Qa'ida.

However, his lawyers successfully argued yesterday in the Supreme Court that the case raised an issue of general public importance.

The matter will now return to the court on Thursday.

Both the name of the man and his country of origin are subject to reporting restrictions.

The 53-year-old gave a false name and lied about his background when he secured refugee status in Ireland in 2000. He claimed his parents and brother were killed by extremists.

It would later emerge he had convictions for terrorism and murder in his home country and had three life sentences and two death sentences hanging over him there.

A report compiled for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said he had been involved in an Islamist organisation whose aim was the introduction of sharia law.

He turned up in France in 2002 and was later convicted of terror offences there in a trial which heard he had been raising money for a major international terror network.

After serving that sentence he was returned to Ireland in 2009. His refugee status was revoked and he has been battling efforts to deport him since 2012.

A Supreme Court made up of Mr Justice Donal O'Donnell, Ms Justice Mary Laffoy and Mr Justice Peter Charleton heard the man was currently being held in Cloverhill Prison on foot of a deportation order.

He was brought to the prison last Friday within minutes of being released from the adjacent Wheatfield Prison, where he had just completed a six-month sentence for possession of a false Belgian passport.

The court heard the deportation order must be implemented within 56 days.

Remy Farrell SC, for the Justice Minister, said that it was likely his deportation could not take place until at least Friday as various arrangements needed to be put in place.

The man's counsel, Michael Lynn SC, appearing with solicitor Gavin Booth of KRW Law, told the court that a refugee appeals tribunal found there was a real risk of harm to the man if he was to be returned to his home country.

However, the Justice Minister reached a different conclusion.

Mr Lynn argued the minister should have been bound by the findings of the tribunal.

He also said the reasons given for the minister's decision were "inadequate".

"The minister gave no real reasons for departing from the tribunal decision," he said.

"The tribunal having made this decision, it was not for another arm of the State to diverge from it."

Questioned by the court about the position regarding the death penalty in the man's home country, Mr Lynn said it was still part of the law there, but in practice no executions had taken place since 1993.

A fortnight ago in the High Court, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys refused to overturn the order for the man's deportation.

Last week the same judge also refused to give the man leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal. He also refused to place a short stay on the deportation order to allow for an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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

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.

Irish Independent

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