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‘Jihad Jane’ suspect Ali Charaf Damache faces extradition to US


Ali Charaf Damache (Left)

Ali Charaf Damache (Left)

Ali Charaf Damache (Left)

AN Algerian arrested following an international probe into an alleged plot to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks faces extradition to the United States on terrorism charges.

Ali Charaf Damache, who has lived in Ireland for more than a decade, is wanted by authorities in Pennsylvania for conspiracy to provide material to support terrorists.

Damache was originally arrested in Waterford in March 2010 over the so-called Jihad Jane plot to murder Vilks, who controversially depicted the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog.

The cartoons were printed in a newspaper in Sweden in 2007.

US investigators have also accused 47-year-old Damache, also known by his online username "Theblackflag", of attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

Judge John Edwards, sitting at the High Court in Dublin, remanded him in custody until Tuesday March 5 and granted him legal aid for one lawyer.

There was no application for bail and no indication if Damache - who faces 15 and 30 years respectively in jail if convicted in the US - intends to fight the extradition.

In indictment papers filled in October 2011, the US authorities claimed Damache made contact through the internet with Colleen LaRose, a Pennsylvania woman who called herself Jihad Jane online.

She later pleaded guilty to conspiracy to murder the Swedish cartoonist under the codename.

Two others - American woman Jamie Paulin Ramirez who married Damache the day she arrived in Ireland in September 2009 and Khalid Mohammed - have also pleaded guilty to a range of terrorism charges and all three await sentencing.

In March 2010 Damache was charged in Ireland with an unrelated offence of sending a message of a menacing character to an American Muslim activist and remanded in custody.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to the offence and was released from custody when his sentence was backdated, but was re-arrested straight away in Waterford Circuit Court by gardai on behalf of the FBI.

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During today's extradition application in Dublin, Sergeant Derek Hughes told Judge Edwards the defendant, who speaks English, Arabic, French and Algerian, replied 'oui' when shown original copies of the orders before hearing, which he sat through in silence with a translator by his side.

Micheal O'Higgins, senior counsel for Damache, had urged the media to be cautious when reporting, claiming more charges may be put to his client in the future in relation to his original arrest.

However, Catherine Noctor, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said there would be no further charges from the probe.

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