Tuesday 20 March 2018

Man facing extradition to US on terror charges denied judicial review

Brian Kavanagh

A man facing extradition to the United States on international terrorism charges has been refused leave to seek judicial review at the High Court.

Mr Justice John Edwards today said that he was not disposed to grant Ali Charaf Damache (48) leave for judicial review on any basis, adding that he believed his judgement would deal comprehensively with each and every one of the points raised.

Damache, an Algerian-born Irish citizen who has been living in Ireland for a decade, is wanted in the United States to face charges relating to the conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

The High Court heard the US alleges it has evidence that Damache conspired with American woman Colleen LaRose - who used the online name “Jihad Jane” - and others to create a terror cell in Europe capable of targeting both US and western European citizens.

It is alleged Damache - who went by the username “the black flag” - also participated in a conspiracy to transfer a passport stolen from a US citizen to an individual in Pakistan whom the conspirators believed to be a member of Al Qaeda.

Damache had sought judicial review to challenge the DPP's decision not to prosecute him in Ireland for the offences. The extradition case has been adjourned until after judgement is returned in the judicial review application.

Mr Justice Edwards said that he had prepared a substantial judgement that runs to over one hundred pages. However, he said that although the judgement was finished he was not prepared to release it today as there was some “minor tying up” he wanted to do.

The judge said he would put the matter back until Friday when the written judgement, containing his reasons for the decision, would be handed down. 

With regard to the part-heard extradition case, Mr Justice Edwards said he would re-enter this matter on February 4 for the purposes of hearing submissions on how the matter might proceed from here and when it should be re-listed.

Mr Justice Edwards said it was not necessary for Damache to attend on Friday but counsel for Damache, Mr Mícheál P O’Higgins SC, later said that his client wished to come to court.

If convicted of the charges against him as laid out by an indictment returned in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in October 2011, Damache faces a potential sentence of 45 years in prison.

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