Monday 18 December 2017

Injunction halts deportation of Algerian terrorism suspect

Frances Fitzgerald. Picture: Damien Eagers
Frances Fitzgerald. Picture: Damien Eagers

Aodhan O'Faolain

An Algerian man who was recently arrested by gardaí on suspicion of being involved in terrorism has secured a temporary High Court order 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 in Algeria, due to his "imputed political opinion". This would be contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, it is claimed.

The man was tried and acquitted of a terrorist offence in Algeria in 2009. In recent weeks he was arrested and detained by gardaí 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. Yesterday lawyers acting for the man sought permission to challenge a decision made by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in April to issue a deportation order.

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 in 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 to appeal his decision to the Court of Appeal.

The judge granted the man a temporary injunction preventing the State from deporting him. The injunction is to remain in place until next Friday.

In his application the man claimed he worked for an Algerian charity, whose head supported al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria.

Arising out of his former boss's activities the man says he was arrested, detained and tortured by 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 he 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.

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

Irish Independent

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