Tuesday 24 October 2017

Muslim prisoner 'could not practice religion in jail', court told

Ali Charaf Damache
Ali Charaf Damache

Tim Healy

A DEVOUT Muslim wanted in the US on a terrorism charge claims his right to practice his religion in prison had been breached.

Ali Charaf Damache (47), an Algerian-born Irish citizen with an address at John Colwyn House, High Street, Waterford, has brought a High Court action arising out of his detention Cork Prison during 2011.

He has since been moved from Cork and is currently on remand at Cloverhill Prison pending the outcome of a request from the US for his extradition.

Last year he pleaded guilty at Waterford Circuit Court to making a menacing phone call to an American lawyer in 2010.

He was sentenced to four years in jail with the final year suspended for making the phone call to Michigan- based attorney Majed Moughni.

Due to time already served, he was released from custody.

He was re-arrested immediately by gardaí on foot of an extradition warrant from the US. He is wanted in the US on a charge of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

Arising out of his alleged treatment in Cork Prison in 2011, while awaiting trial, Mr Damache  brought proceedings against the governor of Cork Prison, the Irish Prison Services, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General.

He claimed he was subjected to insults and abuse by both fellow inmates and prison staff.

He said a drawing of a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed in an insulting manner was left in his cell.

He also said that he was threatened by non-Muslim cellmates.

He claimed his constitutional and rights and rights under the European Convention to practise his religion freely were breached while he was detained. He is also seeking damages.

He was not provided with halal meat, nor water to wash with before praying, and was allowed just one shower per week.

An Iman was not provided for Friday prayers.

He also had to use chamber pots in the cells and the hygiene in the prison's toilet area was poor.

The action has been opposed by the State which denies  his rights were breached.

The action before Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne continues on Thursday.

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