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Algerian-born Irish citizen now in high security Spanish prison

Ali Charaf Damache
Ali Charaf Damache

An Algerian-born Irish citizen, who is wanted by US authorities on international terrorism charges, is now in a high security prison in Spain, a court has heard.

Ali Charaf Damache (50), who had been living here for more than a decade, had been 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.

Damache, with a last address as High Street, Waterford, was involved in lengthy extradition proceedings brought by the State but the High Court refused to order his surrender in May of this year.

In refusing to order Mr Damache's surrender, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said there were “substantial grounds for believing that Mr Damache will be at real risk of being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment if extradited to the USA.”

The Attorney General had appealed the High Court's refusal to surrender Mr Damache and the appeal was listed for mention in the Court of Appeal today..

However, last week, counsel for Mr Damache, Mark Lynam BL, told the Court of Appeal that Mr Damache had been arrested in Spain.

Counsel for the Attorney General, Remy Farrell SC, told the Court of Appeal today that the appeal was “essentially moot”.

Were the State to succeed in its appeal against the High Court's refusal to surrender Mr Damache to US authorities, he would not be available for surrender, Mr Farrell said.

Mr Justice George Birmingham took the matter out of the list and adjourned the appeal generally.

Counsel for Damache, Micheál P O'Higgins SC, said there was no reality in his Irish lawyers being able to speak to him.

“From what we hear he's in a high security prison in Madrid.”

“It seems in all reality (that) this appeal is going to be over.”