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State asked to halt deportation of man convicted of terror offences by European Court of Human Rights

It’s understood the government has agreed to the ECHR’s request.

THE EUROPEAN COURT of Human Rights has asked the Irish Government not to deport an Algerian man with alleged links to Islamic terrorism until it has considered his case aimed at preventing his removal from the State.

The man, who is aged in his fifties and has been living in Ireland for some years, denies being involved in terror-related activities, fears he will be tortured if repatriated to Algeria. 

The Minister issued a deportation order against the man in 2016 after gardaí informed the Department of Justice the activities of the man and his associates were “of serious concern” and “contrary to the State’s security”.

Since then, the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, has in judicial review proceedings sought orders aimed at overturning the Minister for Justice’s refusal to revoke the deportation order made against him. 

In what has been lengthy and complex litigation, both the High Court and the Supreme Court have considered the man’s case. 

The Strasbourg route

In April, the High Court, in what was Justice Richard Humphreys’ 13th written decision in the case, dismissed the man’s challenge against the Minister’s decision not to revoke the deportation order. 

Rather than appeal the High Court’s latest refusal to the Court of Appeal or directly to the Irish Supreme Court lawyers acting for the man asked the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights to consider his case.  

Earlier this month the ECHR formally asked the Irish Government not to deport the man until it has considered if it will hear his case. 

It is understood the government has agreed to the ECHR’s request, and the man will remain in Ireland until mid-July, pending the outcome of the ECHR has decided if it will hear his case. 

The man fears he will be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment in breach of his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

If it decided to hear the action the ECHR may take approximately 12 months to rule on the case.  

He has been represented by barristers Michael Lynn SC and David Leonard Bl who are instructed by solicitor Kevin Winters of KWR Law.

Winters, confirming the ECHR’s request, said they had decided to “go down the Strasbourg route as we no longer see the Irish Courts as providing our client with an effective remedy.”

He said challenging a deportation order by way of judicial review “in a case such as this” was “highly restrictive”. 

Having exhausted their client’s case in the domestic Courts with numerous applications, “we now see Strasbourg as the only effective remedy to our client’s situation,” Winters added.

The man has been remanded in custody pending the outcome of his challenge against the deportation order for two and a half years. 

Previous convictions

“We are of course concerned about the length of time he has spent in remand, he is understandably frustrated at the situation but is happy for us to continue with his case even if this means he continues to remain in remand for the time being,” his solicitor concluded. 

The man was convicted of terror-related offences in Algeria and France, and in proceedings before the Irish Court, the Minister for Justice represented by Remy Farrell SC and Sinead McGrath Bl, have argued that the Minister decision should not be disturbed. 

He is also alleged to have previously used multiple identities and was jailed in Ireland after being convicted of attempting to travel on a false passport. 

He denies being involved in groups including Al-Qaeda and claims he is at risk of being tortured at secret facilities in Algeria due to his political views.

During the 1990s he was convicted of several offences in when the North African country was in a state of civil war between the government and various Islamic groups.

Those offences include forming a terror group intending to spread murder, sabotage, possession of prohibited war weapons assassination, theft intending to harm the security of his home country.

He received three life sentences and two death sentences, which are no longer carried out. 

He was also jailed for eight years in France in 2002 after he was found guilty of charges including membership of a criminal organisation preparing an Act of Terrorism.

Aodhan O'Faolain & Ray Managh