Amnesty slams man’s planned deportation from Ireland to Jordan

Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland
Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland

Amnesty International has said a High Court decision to allow the deportation of a man from Ireland to Jordan is a worrying sign of backsliding on the absolute ban on torture.

The human rights group said the planned deportation to Jordan of a man deemed a national security threat would place him at real risk of torture and other serious human rights violations.

Amnesty International has written to the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to raise its concerns about the case.

The High Court cleared the way for the deportation of the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, in a hearing on 4 July.

He was notified in 2015 that Irish authorities considered him a national security threat on the basis of an allegation that he had been involved in organising and facilitating travel of people intending to join the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).

Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “This deportation is a deeply worrying signal about the Irish authorities’ attitude towards the absolute prohibition against torture. International law prohibits Ireland from returning anyone to a country where they would be at real risk of torture or other serious human rights violations. It’s a very bad day for human rights when a government tries to send someone back to a country they know he will almost certainly be tortured in.”

An attempt on 5 July to seek a measure from the European Court of Human Rights preventing the deportation was not successful.

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and central Asia director, said: “The European Court has often served as a bulwark against some of the most brutal abuses perpetrated against those suspected of or perceived as having committed acts of terrorism. At this critical time, it is all the more important for the Court to expose as false the argument that security can only be achieved by exposing people to serious and potentially life-changing human rights abuses.”

Mr O’Gorman added: “In Jordan alleged supporters of IS and other armed groups face unfair trials before quasi-military courts. Torture and ill-treatment of suspects in intelligence and security custody is widespread.

“If Irish law enforcement authorities have a reasonable suspicion based on credible, sufficient and legally obtained evidence, that this man has committed a criminal offence or offences, it should charge him and give him a fair trial in Ireland.

“Regardless of what crimes he is alleged to have committed, the universal nature of human rights and the absolute ban against torture mean that he must not be returned to Jordan.”

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