Wednesday 13 December 2017

Islamic terrorist who raised funds for jihadists used up to six identities

Wheatfield Prison
Wheatfield Prison
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

An Algeria-born convicted Islamic terrorist facing deportation from Ireland has used six different names since arriving here 20 years ago.

The man, linked by French authorities to al-Qa'ida, used his own name and five aliases at various points, according to a submission by lawyers for Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to the Supreme Court.

The 53-year-old claims his alleged links to al-Qa'ida were "made up" and is challenging his deportation.

He is being held at Wheatfield Prison while he awaits the court's judgment, which is expected by the end of the month.

A member loyal to the ISIL waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa. Photo: Reuters
A member loyal to the ISIL waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa. Photo: Reuters

In a submission, the minister's legal team outlined the man's use of multiple names and how he supplied false information to Irish authorities.

The minister has alleged the man is involved in terrorism and his activities and associates are of serious concern and contrary to the State's security.

But lawyers for the man say he denies being involved in terrorism and does not know what information the minister is relying upon. They argued in court yesterday he was at risk of torture from authorities if returned to Algeria, where he has life and death sentences hanging over him.

His barrister, Michael Lynn SC, also argued the minister did not have proper regard for a Refugee Appeals Tribunal finding there was a foreseeable risk of harm to the man and had not given reasons for departing from the tribunal's finding.

Although death sentences are no longer carried out in Algeria, he said the minister had not given consideration to the use of secret detention centres there.

But Remy Farrell SC, for the minister, said she had acted within her powers.

The man was a supporter of the banned political movement Front Islamique du Salut, which sought to establish an Islamic state governed by sharia law.

He fled Algeria in or around 1994 and was convicted in his absence of murder and formation of a terrorist group.

The man ended up in Ireland in 1997 and gained refugee status in 2000. He would later turn up in France where he was jailed in 2005 for his role in a plot to commit terror offences there and in Spain, Andorra, Ireland and England.

A Paris court heard he had been fundraising for jihadists.

In a written submission, Mr Farrell and his co-counsel, Sinéad McGrath BL, outlined how the man used an alias when he illegally entered Ireland.

In a subsequent application for asylum he stated his parents and only brother had been killed. But it later transpired he actually had two brothers. Both were convicted alongside him of terror offences in France.

After being released early from a French prison he was refused asylum there and illegally re-entered Ireland in 2009.

In a bid to avoid the revocation of his Irish refugee status he made submissions referring to life and death sentences he was facing under another alias.

He also claimed he had been given refugee status in France.

A third alias was used in 2014 when the man sought consent from the minister to make a further application to remain in Ireland. Three other aliases were subsequently used including when he was arrested at Dublin Airport last year with a false Belgian passport seeking to board a flight to Athens.

Irish Independent

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