Mum-of-six wanted in Italy for alleged drug importation may face 20-year sentence

Aisha Ahmed (Pic: Herald)
Aisha Ahmed (Pic: Herald)

A mother-of-six alleged to be a drug importer must wait to hear whether she will be surrendered to Italian authorities to serve a 20-year prison sentence imposed in her absence.

Aisha Ahmed (49), AKA Gloria Anwulika Aro (47), was arrested at her home at Sundale Parade, Tallaght, Dublin 24 last year, on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Italian authorities, who have been looking for the Nigerian native for several years.

The arrest warrant alleges that Ms Ahmed had the role of “promoter, leader and organiser” in an association that imported, sold, distributed and traded “remarkable quantities” of cocaine in Italy between September 1999 and June 2000.

Ms Ahmed had given her name as Gloria Aro and her date of birth as being in December 1967, when she was arrested. She supplied an Irish passport to that effect.

She previously denied being known as Aisha Ahmed or by the alias, Linda, and denied using a date of birth in 1965 but resiled from this position at a subsequent bail hearing.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly had sought further information from the Italian judicial authorities in October concerning the awareness Ms Ahmed did or did not have of certain judicial procedural matters at certain times.

Counsel for Ahmed, John Noonan BL, told Ms Justice Donnelly today that documentation supplied by the Italians appeared to corroborate what his client had stated in her affidavit.

Mr Noonan said Ms Ahmed was released by the Italian authorities, had heard nothing else and was unaware of any scheduled trial. Therefor, he said, surrender should be refused.

Counsel for the Attorney General, Ms Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, said the position of the Italian authorities was that Ms Ahmed gave a mandate to a private lawyer and that lawyer continued to act for her throughout the entire proceedings.

Ms Lawlor said these people were being “paid to do a job. They did that and they did that because Ms Ahmed asked them to”.

Ms Lawlor said there was nothing in the act which would mandate the court to refuse to surrender.

On an earlier date, Mr Noonan submitted that his client had not been made aware of an alleged scheduled trial.

The question was whether she had actual notice of a scheduled trial, Mr Noonan said, and “it appeared she did not have notice”.

Notice was served on her defence lawyer and that fell short of the requirements for extradition, Mr Noonan said.

She accepted that she had dealt with lawyers initially while she was in custody for 10 days, Mr Noonan said, but swore she did not give a mandate to lawyers.

Once she was released from custody in Italy, she came to Ireland and had no further dealings with the lawyer, Mr Noonan said.

Ms Ahmed was “a fugitive” in the words of the Italians, Ms Lawlor said.

She said Ms Ahmed had been charged “with the contents of wiretapping” and was fully aware there were proceedings in being against her. She then “fled the country”.

Ms Lawlor reminded the judge that Ms Ahmed had previously pursued an argument that she was not Ms Ahmed and had "lied to the court".

She was now asking the court to believe, contrary to everything the Italians were saying, her instructions to lawyers ended in circumstances where she believed she was free to walk away from Italy, Ms Lawlor said.

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said she would reserve her decision and give it as soon as she could.