Islamic terror convict should not be sent to overcrowded French prison, says lawyer

ireland
Islamic Terror Convict Should Not Be Sent To Overcrowded French Prison, Says Lawyer Islamic Terror Convict Should Not Be Sent To Overcrowded French Prison, Says Lawyer
Counsel said information from the French authorities also stated that showers are not available for prisoners and that some prisoners are sleeping on mattresses on the floor.
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Eoin Reynolds

A man convicted of Islamic terrorism offences in France should not be extradited because of the conditions in the Paris prison where he will be sent, a lawyer has told the High Court.

Thomas Horan BL told the High Court in Dublin on Friday that if surrendered his client, Youcef Madani, will be sent to Villepinte remand centre in Paris where in January this year 979 people were imprisoned despite there being places for only 583 prisoners.

Counsel said information from the French authorities also stated that showers are not available for prisoners and that some prisoners are sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Madani should be entitled to his own bed, counsel said.

Judicial protection

Mr Horan also told the court that extradition should be refused because the French prosecutor who issued the European Arrest Warrant for Madani does not provide "effective judicial protection" and therefore does not have the authority to issue a warrant. There was, counsel said, no opportunity to challenge the issuing of the warrant.

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Mr Horan further pointed out that the French courts had convicted Madani in his absence and are offering him a retrial if he is returned to France.

He said that the French authorities would only offer a retrial because they accept that Madani's right to a defence was not met by his original trial, which concluded in 2001 after he had left France.

Elva Duffy SC, for the State, will respond to Mr Horan's arguments on Wednesday, July 13th.

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Madani (53), an Algerian national, had been living in Ireland for 20 years before he was arrested by gardaí in Dublin in September last year.

At a previous bail hearing the High Court heard that the father-of-four, with an address at Firhouse in Tallaght, Dublin 24, is wanted in France having been convicted in his absence in 2001 for making false documents relating to facilitating terrorism involving weapons trafficking.

Madani went by the name 'Abderrahmane Yahiaoui' when he lived illegally in France.

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.

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