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Court of Appeal grants short deportation stay for alleged ISIS recruiter

The High Court
The High Court

The Court of Appeal has granted a short stay against the imminent deportation of a father of four who is alleged to have been a recruiting agent for Islamic extremists.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is seeking to overturn a decision of the High Court yesterday in which Ms Justice Carmel Stewart cleared the way for his imminent deportation by the Irish authorities to the Middle East.

This evening Court of Appeal judge Mr Justice Michael Peart granted a stay against the man's deportation until 2pm on Wednesday when a three judge court will hear the appeal.

Judge Peart also renewed reporting restrictions imposed by the High Court under the Refugee Act 1996.

The man, who attended the Court of Appeal this evening, is alleged by the Government to be the “main recruiter” in Ireland for Isil, but denies the allegations, including claims that he is the the foremost organiser and facilitator of travel by extremists prepared to undertake violent action” on behalf of Isil.

Earlier today his lawyers filed notice of appeal against Judge Stewart’s decision with the Court of Appeal, asking it to sit as soon as possible.

This evening, Judge Peart heard that arrangements are in place to deport the man before January 11th next if he did not leave the State voluntarily by December 30th.

The judge granted a stay pending an appeal against yesterday's decision by the High Court to lift an injunction preventing the man's deportation which he secured at the High Court on January 21st last.

On Monday, the High Court heard that an intelligence operation led by senior gardaí working with their counterparts overseas has identified the alleged "main recruiter" in Ireland for Islamic extremists to wage 'Jihad' in Syria and other conflict zones.

The man, in his 50s, who has been living in Ireland for the last 15 years, denies he is a recruiter for the so-called Islamic State.

Yesterday the High Court cleared the way for the man's deportation to a country in the Middle East after it sat to hear an emergency application by the State to lift a temporary injunction the man secured on December 21st last - the last day of the legal term - preventing his deportation.

The decision is expected to be appealed.

The man, who secured residency in Ireland on the basis of the birth of his now 15-year-old Irish-born son, was notified last March that the State intended to deport him.

This was because of his alleged role as an Isil recruiter and facilitator of travel of combatants to conflict zones including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The State also says the man is "consulted by and gives directions to senior, violent extremist leaders" outside of Ireland and poses what was described in court as a "patent threat" to national security.

Yesterday, a large cohort of officers including members of the Special Detective Unit and the Garda National Immigration Bureau attended the emergency sitting of the High Court.

The man, who says he will be persecuted or may even die if he is deported, also attended the hearing.

Moving Monday’s application to lift the injunction, Senior Counsel Remy Farrell, for the Department of Justice, said the man was involved in a "nihilistic organisation [Isil] that poses an existential threat" to Ireland and other countries.

The State, which denied any delay in making the deportation order on November 30, said the man had been given detailed reasons last March - when a notice to deport was issued - and that the man had not refused or engaged with them.

This was robustly challenged by Senior Counsel Michael Lynn, for the man, who said that his client denied the allegations.

Mr Lynn said that the issue of national security was a live issue that could not be resolved in the State's motion to vacate the earlier injunction.

Mr Lynn also said that national security was not capable of diluting the protections under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

In court papers, the suspected Isil recruiter said he was "deeply afraid of facing persecution, including torture" if he was returned to the country where his wife and children have been living since 2009.

His Irish-born son moved to that country in mid-2013 but returned to Ireland shortly after his father's residency was not renewed in January 2015 by the authorities here.

Press Association