Thursday 19 April 2018

State seeks accelerated hearing for two asylum applications relating to plans to deport 'Isil recruiter'

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Dearbhail McDonald, Legal Editor

The State has sought an accelerated hearing for two linked asylum applications relating to plans to deport a man alleged to be the main recruiter for the Islamic State (ISIL) in Ireland.

The man, who denies he is involved with Islamic extremism, is appealing a refusal by the Minister for Justice to allow him to re-enter the asylum process.

He is also challenging his deportation to a country in the Middle East amid claims that he will be subject to inhuman and degrading treatment there, including the possibility of torture.

The Court of Appeal, which sat over the Christmas holiday period to hear an appeal against the lifting of an injunction preventing the man's deportation, is due to give an imminent ruling in that case.

This morning barrister Sinead McGrath, for the State, said that the authorities here were seeking an accelerated hearing for the two separate but related applications.

Senior Counsel Michael Lynn, for the man, said his side was not conceding that the two matters should be heard together, but accepted this may ultimately be more convenient to do so.

The asylum cases could be heard as early as March following receipt of opposition papers by the man's legal team.

Last Christmas, plans to deport the man allegedly involved with Islamic extremists was put on hold following a dramatic intervention by the European Court of Human Rights which made a request to the three judge court which had the effect of temporarily preventing Ireland from deporting him.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has asked the Court of Appeal to overturn a High Court order lifting an injunction which had restrained his deportation to the Middle Eastern country. 

The court heard the man suffers from health problems and fears being tortured if he is deported due to his political activities.

The man denies acting on behalf of Isil or that he represents a threat to national security.

At a previous hearing before the Court of Appeal, Mr Lynn said the application to the ECtHR had been made because there was no automatic stay on a deportation order in Irish law whenever an issue under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibiting torture, is raised in a case. 

Last month the court heard that the man had been told he must leave the Irish State before December 30 and, failing to do that, must report to the Garda National Immigration Bureau by January 5 for deportation.

In his appeal the man, who is married and aged in his early 50's, sought to overturn a recent decision of the High Court clearing the way for his imminent deportation by the Irish authorities to the Middle East.

He has been living in Ireland for some time and withdrew an initial asylum application some 15 years ago - when he and his family first arrived in Ireland - after he secured residency here on the basis of the birth of his Irish born son. 

He was told in March 2014 by the Irish authorities that they intended to deport him.

His residency permit was not renewed because his Irish born son was living overseas with his mother for the last number of years.

He then sought to re-enter the asylum process but was denied permission to do so.

The man launched several legal actions arising out of the decisions to deport him, which are pending before the court. He also secured a temporary injunction preventing his deportation pending the outcome of his case.

The State had succeeded in having that injunction set aside, leading to an emergency sitting of the Court of Appeal whose considerations were affected by the ECtHR's intervention.

A senior Department of Justice official told the High Court last December that, based on intelligence amassed by gardai and their counterparts in other jurisdictions, the State believed the man was consulted by and gave directions to senior violent extremist leaders outside Ireland.

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