Thursday 23 November 2017

Young man charged at Waterford court with acting to support a foreign terrorist organisation

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Stock picture

Ralph Riegel and Tom Brady

A YOUNG man has been charged with acting to support a foreign terrorist organisation.

Hassan Bal (25) appeared before Waterford District Court on two charges of attempting to provide and providing funds for a foreign terrorist organisation.

The charges are brought contrary to the Criminal Justice - Terrorist Offences Act, 2005.

Judge Kevin Staunton was told that Mr Bal was arrested at an address off O'Connell Street in Waterford shortly before 10am yesterday.

He was questioned overnight at Waterford Garda Station under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.

On the instructions of the Director of Public Prosecutions, he was charged at Waterford Garda Station with two counts under the Criminal Justice - Terrorist Offences Act, 2005.

Det Inspector Anthony Pettit and Det Sergeant Donal Donoghue told the district court that, after being arrested, cautioned and charged, Mr Bal made no reply when the two charges were put to him.

He appeared in court today wearing slacks, a charcoal grey T shirt and a black jacket.

Mr Bal did not speak during the brief hearing at the temporary Waterford courthouse at Gracedieu.

Tight security marked the brief court hearing.

Mr Bal is an Irish citizen but is understood to have been born in the UK.

The young man has been resident in Ireland for over a decade.

He has both Irish and UK passports.

Mr Bal, who is married, was training to be an electrician in Waterford but currently has no major source of income.

The two charges relate to dates of October 2 and October 23 2015.

It is understood the sums allegedly involved are in the hundreds of Euro.

Inspector Anthony Dineen said the State was applying for Mr Bal to be remanded in custody.

Defence solicitor Pat Newell said he was reserving his position in respect of bail for his client.

He applied for free legal aid and this was granted for Mr Bal.

Judge Staunton remanded Mr Bal in custody to appear against before Waterford District Court next Tuesday (May 2).

The charge followed a major search in Waterford yesterday by Gardai following a lengthy intelligence-led operation.

It is understood that the Garda operation was supported by intelligence supplied by overseas agencies including those in the UK and US.

The Waterford-based operation was ongoing for a period of almost 17 months.

The Garda operation was focused on the collection and distribution of funds which, they feared, could have been intended for radical Islamic groups operating overseas.

Mr Bal had been living at a rented flat off O'Connell Street in Waterford city centre.

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