Monday 23 April 2018

Jihad Jane terror plot suspect will be sent to toughest jail in US if extradited

Ali Charaf Damache
Ali Charaf Damache

Ed Carty

A man wanted in the US on charges linked to the Jihad Jane international terror plot faces being held in one of the country's top security prisons if extradited.

Ali Charaf Damache, 48, has been refused a stay on a High Court application by American authorities seeking his surrender for trial.

The court heard it is likely that the Algerian-born suspect, who has proceedings translated into French, will be held in the ADX maximum security unit near Florence, Colorado, if extradited.

It is used to house inmates deemed too dangerous, too high profile or considered too great a national security risk for other detention centres.

Senior counsel for Mr Damache, Micheal P O'Higgins, claimed it will be difficult for his client to be brought back to Ireland if extradition proceeds and the Supreme Court then agrees to hear a challenge to the process.

"It will not be possible to prise Mr Damache from the clutches of the American authorities," the barrister said.

Judge Edwards refused to put a stay on proceedings to allow a new challenge to the action. However he adjourned the case until May 6 to allow time for Mr Damache's lawyers to apply for an appeal in the Supreme Court.

The judge also suggested a full hearing on the US extradition application could take place in September.

Mr Damache, who has Irish citizenship and has been living here for a decade, is wanted in the US to face charges on conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

US authorities claim to have evidence Mr Damache conspired with American woman Colleen LaRose, who used the online nickname Jihad Jane, to create a terror cell in Europe capable of targeting both US and western European citizens.

Mr Damache, himself allegedly known online as "the black flag", is also accused of conspiring to transfer a passport stolen from a US citizen to an individual in Pakistan whom the conspirators believed to be an al Qaida member.

Mr Damache, who was in court, faces a potential sentence of 45 years in prison if extradited and convicted.

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