Tuesday 24 April 2018

Irish citizen sought to aid terror attack, court is told

Ali Charaf Damache: wanted by the US authorities
Ali Charaf Damache: wanted by the US authorities

Brian Kavanagh

AN Algerian-born Irish citizen, who is wanted in the US on terrorism charges, planned for a group to train in explosives with al-Qa'ida in order to support terrorist attacks against US and European citizens, a court has heard.

Ali Charaf Damache (48), who has been living in Ireland for a decade, is wanted in the US to face charges relating to the conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

If convicted, Mr Damache faces a potential sentence of 45 years in prison.

Counsel for the State, Remy Farrell, opened extradition proceedings yesterday afternoon against Mr Damache at the High Court in Dublin.

JIHAD

He said the indictment, returned in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 2011, alleges that Mr Damache made contact over the internet with US woman Colleen LaRose – who used the online name 'Jihad Jane' – telling her he was a devout jihadist living in Ireland and was interested in travelling to Pakistan to fight against the US and others.

Mr Farrell said it is alleged Mr Damache planned for a small group to travel to an al-Qa'ida camp in Afghanistan, get training in explosives, and then return to Europe to support attacks on targets that would kill US and European citizens.

It is alleged Mr Damache, who went by the username 'the black flag', co-ordinated LaRose's departure from the US and her stay in the Netherlands and gave her spiritual guidance. She later flew to Ireland.

LaRose was arrested in October 2009, when she admitted her involvement in a plot to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks.

The case was adjourned until today, when it is anticipated an application for leave to seek a judicial review will be made.

Mr Justice John Edwards earlier dismissed an application to have the judicial review proceedings, which seek to challenge the DPP's decision not to prosecute Mr Damache in Ireland, heard in a different court.

Last March, Mr Damache was arrested in Waterford courthouse on foot of a High Court warrant just minutes after he had pleaded guilty to sending a menacing phone call to a US Muslim activist Majed Moughni in January 2010.

The charges arose after Mr Damache was originally arrested in March 2010 as part of the investigation in to a large conspiracy to murder Lars Vilks.

Irish Independent

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