DUBLIN (Reuters) - An Algerian man jailed in Ireland and wanted by the United States on terrorism charges filed a damages suit against the Irish state on Tuesday, saying his prison conditions were “not even suitable for animals”.
Ali Charaf Damache is wanted by the FBI for conspiracy in a foiled international plot to murder a Swedish cartoonist whose depiction of the Prophet Mohammad with the body of a dog caused outrage in Muslim countries.
Damache, arrested in Ireland in March 2010, said he was claiming compensation over conditions of his detention at Cork Prison that he said amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.
“Cork Prison is not even suitable for animals,” Damache, 47, told the High Court. “There was a television and radio (in my cell). When I practiced my prayer they (cellmates) deliberately put the volume up (and) they put pictures of naked women on the wall. I can’t pray in a place where there are naked pictures...”
Damache said he had been unable to wash before prayer and handling the Koran, as his faith requires, and was usually allowed to shower and change his underwear just once a week.
State lawyers have yet to file a response.
Also known by his online username “Black Flag”, Damache is accused of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists - specifically, by luring two American-born women Muslim converts to Ireland in 2009 - and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of terrorism.
He faces a maximum of 45 years in jail if convicted in the United States. Extradition proceedings are due to start on September 10 in Dublin; it is unclear how long they might take.
Colleen LaRose, a Pennsylvania woman who called herself Jihad Jane, has pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to conspiring with Damache to try to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, whose depiction of the Prophet Mohammed with the dog’s body triggered an international wave of Muslim protests.
Damache, who has lived in Ireland for a decade, was originally arrested on a less serious and unrelated Irish charge of sending a menacing message by telephone to an American Muslim activist, which delayed U.S. extradition efforts.
That trial ended in February when Damache pleaded guilty to the offence. He was sentenced him to time served and immediately released but was then re-arrested by Irish police acting on behalf of the FBI.
Writing by Sam Cage; Editing by Mark Heinrich