Monday 16 September 2019

Jihadist in new bid to avoid being stripped of citizenship


Ali Damache. Picture: Courtpix
Ali Damache. Picture: Courtpix
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

An imprisoned jihadist is mounting a fresh legal battle to stop his Irish citizenship being revoked.

Algerian-born Ali Charaf Damache, who is serving a 15-year sentence in the US for providing material support to Islamist terrorists, was informed last October that Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan intended to strip him of his citizenship. A High Court challenge aimed at restraining the minister was dismissed in May by Mr Justice Richard Humphreys.

However, the Irish Independent has learned a notice of intention to appeal that decision was filed with the Court of Appeal last week.

The 54-year-old claims the rarely used law allowing citizenship to be revoked is repugnant to the Constitution.

He also claims a revocation would lead to him being deported to Algeria on his release, where he fears he will be mistreated.

The appeal is the 10th set of proceedings Damache has instituted in the Irish courts.

He previously fought a successful battle not to be extradited from Ireland to the US. However, he ended up being extradited there by Spain after he was arrested while visiting Barcelona.

Damache came to Ireland in 2000 and lived in Waterford. He obtained Irish citizenship in 2008 after marrying an Irish woman.

He would later be linked to al-Qa'ida and a jihadist cell plotting attacks in Europe and southern Asia and conspired with American woman Colleen LaRose, also known as Jihad Jane, in a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist in retaliation for a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as a dog.

Under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, the minister can revoke citizenship where the person is shown to have failed in their duty of loyalty and fidelity to the State.

It is argued Damache failed in his duty by committing a terrorist offence.

Irish Independent

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