Human Rights Commission intervenes in Ali Charaf Damache case

Algerian-born Irish citizen is wanted in US for charges relating to support for terrorists

Ali Charaf Damache (49) is wanted in the United States to face charges relating to the conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists . File photograph: Collins Courts

Ali Charaf Damache (49) is wanted in the United States to face charges relating to the conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists . File photograph: Collins Courts

 

The Irish Human Rights Commission has intervened in an extradition case of a man wanted to face international terrorism charges in the United States.

The High Court was told today that it is the first time the IHRC has intervened in an extradition case.

Ali Charaf Damache (49), an Algerian-born Irish citizen who has been living here for a decade, is wanted in the United States to face charges relating to the conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.

The High Court heard the US alleges it has evidence that Mr Damache conspired with American woman Colleen LaRose — who used the online name ‘Jihad Jane’- and others to create a terror cell in Europe capable of targeting both US and western European citizens.

It is alleged Mr Damache — who went by the username “the black flag” — also participated in a conspiracy to transfer a passport stolen from a US citizen to an individual in Pakistan whom the conspirators believed to be a member of Al Qaeda.

Mr Damache had twice sought judicial review of the DPP’s decision not to prosecute him in Ireland but both applications were refused by the High Court.

The High Court heard that three of Mr Damache’s alleged co-conspirators have already been sentenced.

Mr Damache had twice sought judicial review of the DPP’s decision not to prosecute him in Ireland for the offences, but both applications were refused by the High Court.

If convicted of the charges against him as laid out by an indictment returned in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in October 2011, Mr Damache faces a potential sentence of 45 years in prison.

Today Michael Lynn SC for the IHRC told the court that “the commission is of the view it should intervene.”

He said the Commission wanted to be in a position to make submissions on the human rights issues relating to the case.

Mr Lynn said one potential issue would be his possible detention in a Supermax prison for 40 to 45 years and the right to practice his Muslim faith.

The court heard there was no objection to the application from Mr Damache’s counsel or from the Attorney General.

Mr Justice John Edwards presiding said he was disposed to grant the application and made an order permitting the IHRC to join the proceedings.

The extradition case continues on October 28th.