Algerian man challenges minister’s refusal to revoke deportation order

High_CourtThe High Court will rule later on a challenge to another refusal by the Minister for Justice to revoke a deportation order made against an Algerian man with alleged links to Islamic terrorism.

This is the third such challenge brought on behalf of the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons and fears of being tortured if returned to Algeria.

The man, aged in his fifties, has lived in Ireland for several years and denies being involved in terrorism or with groups including Al-Qaeda.

The State argues the Minister’s decision should be upheld.

In July 2017, the Supreme Court quashed the Minister’s first refusal to revoke a deportation order issued in late 2016 and returned the case to the Minister for further reconsideration.

The Supreme Court’s ruling concerned the man’s appeal over a High Court finding upholding as lawful the Minister’s decision there were no substantial grounds to find he would be at real risk of ill-treatment if deported to his home country.

Last December, the High Court quashed the second refusal by the Minister to revoke the deportation order. It did so due to failure to inform the man’s lawyers certain information about Algeria was relied upon by the Minister when considering the application to revoke.

The High Court sent back the matter back for fresh consideration.

Last February, the Minister again refused to revoke the deportation order.

On Tuesday, Michael Lynn SC, with David Leonard BL, argued before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys the refusal should be quashed.

There is a danger the man’s rights under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which prohibits torture and being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, would be breached if he was returned to Algeria, counsel said.

Reports on human rights and prison conditions in Algeria from three internationally recognised experts in support of the man’s claims were provided to the court.

Custody

Counsel also said the man has been in custody in Ireland since 2016,

Opposing the challenge, Remy Farrell SC, with Sinead McGrath BL, for the Minister, said there have been significant improvements concerning the protection of human rights in Algeria, especially since 2016. There had been changes to the Algerian constitution and a human rights body had been established by the Algerian authorities.

The Algerian government’s intelligence agency, the DRS, which had been accused of human rights abuses, had been disbanded, he added.

Mr Justice Humphreys said he was reserving judgment.

The man, who attended Tuesday’s hearing, was convicted of terrorism offences in Algeria and France. He had previously used multiple identities and had been jailed in Ireland for attempting to travel on a false passport.

The Minister issued a deportation order in 2016 after gardaí­ informed the Department of Justice the activities of the man and his associates were “of serious concern” and “contrary to the State’s security”.

The man denies any terrorist involvement and claims, if deported, he is at risk of being tortured and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment due to his political views.

During the 1990s, he was convicted of several offences in Algeria and received three life sentences and two death sentences. Death sentences are no longer carried out. The offences included forming an armed terrorist group intending to spread murder, sabotage, possession of prohibited war weapons, assassination and theft intending to harm the security of his home country.

He was jailed for eight years following his arrest in France in 2002 after he was found guilty of charges including membership of a criminal organisation preparing an Act of Terrorism.