State must not deport Islamic State suspect, court rules

European court issues direction on case taken on the grounds of national security

The European Court of Human Rights has directed the Republic not to deport a man the State believes is the foremost member of Islamic State in the jurisdiction.

The development was disclosed in the course of a hearing of the Court of Appeal late on Wednesday afternoon, when the emergency sitting was told of the direction that had just been issued by the Strasbourg court.

The direction remains in place pending the European court’s ruling on the man’s case and follows an application made on his behalf in the last few days.

The foreign national, who is fighting the State’s attempt to deport him on the grounds of national security, has an absolute right to be protected from torture, the Court of Appeal was told earlier.


Michael Lynn SC, representing the man, opened his appeal against his client’s deportation by saying that the man had been subjected to torture in the early 1990s in the country to which the State wants to return him.

He said now that the man has been profiled as a supporter of Islamic State (Isis), the risk of his being tortured is even greater.

He said that the torture in the early 1990s was linked to the man’s political views and a medical report shows he has injuries that are “highly consistent” with his having been tortured.

He said that one of the man’s sons is being detained without charge in the state to which the man’s deportation is sought.

Mr Lynn said his client was contesting the State’s claim that he was a threat to national security, and that that issue needed to be determined through fair procedure.

The man has made an application for refugee status that has yet to be determined, and he has a right to remain in the State until that is decided, Mr Lynn said.

The man, who was not in court, had made an earlier application for refugee status in the 1990s, but withdrew the application after his wife gave birth here and he was given residence under the law as it then existed.

‘Extremist violence’

Remy Farrell SC, for the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, said the man was the foremost figure in the State involved with the Islamic State group.

He said that the man was a senior operator involved in recruitment and making travel arrangements for people involved in “extremist violence”.

He said the man had not mentioned torture when making his original application for refugee status, and that the High Court had already considered his claims in this regard.

Mr Farrell said that “recent events show that nothing is beyond the pale” in relation to the organisation with which the man is involved.

He said that the man had a very active role in extremist violence that could have its expression within or without the State, and these circumstances brought the case into a truly exceptional category.

Mr Justice Garret Sheehan said the State was arguing that the man was involved in murder in other jurisdictions and conspiring to commit murder.

The judge asked if the man had been arrested and questioned.

The case continues before Mr Justice Michael Peart, Mr Justice Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent