High court refuses extradition of terror suspect

Ali Charaf Damache (left)
Ali Charaf Damache (left)

The High Court has refused to order the extradition of an Algerian-born Irish citizen who is wanted in the United States on two alleged terrorism related offences.

High Court judge Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly today delivered her judgement refusing the State's application for the extradition of Ali Charaf Damache at the request of the United States of America.

The 50 year old has been living here for a decade and 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. Last December was the second time his extradition case had been heard.

In November 2014 Mr Damache also won a Supreme Court appeal against a High Court judge’s refusal for leave to seek judicial review of the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute Mr Damache here.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Mr Damache was entitled to apply for judicial review on two issues: whether the DPP’s March 2011 refusal to prosecute him here is re-viewable, and whether the DPP was entitled to refuse to give reasons for her refusal.

If Mr Damache had been convicted in the US, he could have faced up to 45 years in jail, a term his lawyers said would be “a lot more” than could be imposed here in Ireland.

Ms Justice Donnelly said that the DPP abdicated responsibility to consider the proper forum for prosecution however she will not quash the DPP's decision in that regard unless the State successfully appeals her refusal to extradite him.

Mr Damanche was discharged and walked out of the High Court this afternoon.