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Islamic terrorism Terror suspect who hid in Ireland for 22 years granted bail despite Garda objections

The court also heard that father-of-four Youcef Madani (53), who was in receipt of medical disability here for partial blindness, was an "expert in false paperwork" who "specialised" in fake passports

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An Algerian man who fled to Ireland over 20 years ago when he was convicted of facilitating Islamic terrorism in France has been granted bail at the High Court, despite Garda objections.

The court also heard on Wednesday that father-of-four Youcef Madani (53), who was in receipt of medical disability here for partial blindness, was an "expert in false paperwork" who "specialised" in fake passports.

Madani with an address at Firhouse in Tallaght, Dublin 24, made a successful bail application on Wednesday at the High Court before Mr Justice Paul Burns.

Madani is wanted by French authorities, having been convicted by a court in his absence in 2001 for making false documents in relation to facilitating terrorism involving weapons trafficking.

Madani, who went by the name 'Abderrahmane Yahiaoui' in France when he lived there illegally, was arrested in Dublin in September when he was stopped while driving.

Detective Garda Robert Comerford, of the Extradition Unit in Dublin, said that gardaí stopped Madani when he appeared under the name of Yahiaoui on the Schengen Information System, which showed him as wanted in France.

Opposing bail, Det Gda Comerford told Elva Duffy BL, for the Minister for Justice, that he considered Madani a flight risk and that Madani was sentenced to six years in 2001, which remained in place.

Det Gda Comerford said that Madani had been convicted in his absence under the name of Yahiaoui but denied being of that name to gardaí.

However, fingerprints confirmed that Madani was Yahiaoui. Madani also admitted that he was the male in the photo provided to gardaí by French authorities.

Madani admitted to gardaí that he gave French authorities a false name when he lived there illegally but could not recall using the name 'Yahiaoui', said Det Gda Comerford.

The detective said that Madani was an expert in false paperwork for illegals from Nigeria and that he had access to false documents.

Det Gda Comerford said that Madani had fled France either during an investigation of him or during the court process.

He said that Madani was a flight risk but had a wife and children in Ireland and had only minor road traffic convictions in Ireland.

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Det Gda Comerford agreed with Ms Duffy that Madani's name had come up as such on social welfare records and on his driver's licence.

Ms Duffy told the court it was discovered that Madani was recently in the process of becoming an Irish citizen.

Madani's barrister Maria Brosnan BL said that while Madani was wanted on a conviction warrant he was entitled to a full retrial according to documents received from French authorities.

Ms Brosnan said the conviction related to the years between 1996 and 1998 but it was unclear whether it was for offences committed in the Netherlands or in France. Counsel said clarification was needed on that point.

Ms Brosnan said that Madani had registered with immigration services here in 2002 and was on medical disability for partial blindness due to a cancer in his skull for which he had undergone radiological therapy.

Ms Brosnan said that Madani's son was willing to act as an independent surety and that €10,000 could be produced.

She said her client had handed in his passport to gardaí and had no other travel documents.

"He handed in an up to date Algerian passport but specialised in false passports, so that would be my concern," said Det Gda Comerford.

Ms Brosnan argued that her client was not a flight risk, would turn up to court and had significant ties through his family to Ireland.

Ms Justice Burns said that while he was aware of Madani's conviction for false documents, and the court noted that he fled France during either an investigation or during his court case, he would grant bail "with some reluctance".

Mr Justice Burns said that he took into consideration Madani's health, his family and said Madani's son was an acceptable surety of €10,000.

Madani is to sign on at Tallaght Garda Station daily, surrender his passport, have €2,000 in his own bond available and keep the peace while on bail.

Mr Justice Burns remanded Madani in custody with consent to bail to appear before the court again on October 11.

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