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Algerian-Irish man pleads guilty to terror charges in US

Ali Charaf Damache is the first foreigner extradited to the US on terror charges under President Trump.

File photo: Ali Charafe Damache as he arrives at a hearing at Waterford District Court in 2010
File photo: Ali Charafe Damache as he arrives at a hearing at Waterford District Court in 2010
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

AN ALGERIAN-IRISH MAN, who last year became the first foreigner extradited to the United States on terror charges under President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy.

Ali Charaf Damache, 53, had been wanted in the United States for years on charges that he conspired with an American woman known as “Jihad Jane” to recruit people online to carry out attacks in Europe and South Asia.

Damache – who went by the online username “Theblackflag”- pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists, a year after he was extradited from Spain, prosecutors said.

He conspired with Colleen LaRose – a Pennsylvania woman who converted to Islam and took the name Jihad Jane – along with others to “wage violent jihad” through a cell of men and women from Europe and the United States.

LaRose was jailed for 10 years in 2014 for plotting attacks, including the murder of Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has survived several death threats since penning a cartoon portraying the Prophet Mohammed as a dog.

Prosecutors said Damache had agreed to serve 15 years behind bars and would be sentenced on 30 October. After being released from prison, he will be deported to Algeria or Ireland, US officials added.

He was the first foreigner brought to the United States to face terror charges under Trump, who had said it would be “fine” to send suspects to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay rather than civilian courtrooms as was the case under Barack Obama.

© AFP 2018 

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