April 11, 2011 -- A devout Muslim awaiting trial on charges of making a menacing phone call has claimed before the High Court that conditions in Cork Prison are in breach of his rights to practise his religion. Ali Charaf Damache (aged 45), an Algerian with an address at John Colwyn House, High Street, Waterford, who has been remanded in Cork Prison, secured the permission of the High Court to bring a legal challenge aimed at securing a transfer to another prison. Today his solicitor Caroline Egan said that her client had been subject to insults and abuse by fellow inmates and prison staff and a drawing of a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed in an insulting manner was left in his cell.
In January 2010, it is alleged Mr Damache made a phone call to an American lawyer who had been featured in publicity about a protest outside a Detroit court, when a man was charged with attempting to bomb a Netherlands-Detroit bound plane on Christmas Day 2009. The attorney had made the protest to show most Muslims did not support such attacks and he later allegedly received a phone call from Mr Damache in which he (Damache) said he would "put a bullet in his head" and even though he lived in the U.S., "he would get him and he would pay". He was charged in March 2010 with making a menacing phone call and has been in custody since.
Yesterday at the High Court Mr Justice Michael Peart granted Mr Damache permission to bring judicial review proceedings against the governor of Cork Prison, the Irish Prison Services, The Minister for Justice, Ireland and the attorney General aimed at having him transferred to another prison. In his action Mr Damache is seeking orders quashing a previous decision refusing his application for a transfer. He is also seeking declarations from the court that his constitutional and rights and rights under the European Convention of Human Rights to practise his religion freely are being breached by his continued detention in Cork Prison. The application for leave was granted on an ex-parte (one-side-only basis). Mr Justice Peart made the action returnable to a date in early May. In an affidavit, Ms Egan said that her client sought but was refused a transfer to another prison. She said that the facilities in Cork Prison were incompatible with his human rights to freely practise his religion.
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11th April 2011 20:20 #99Super Moderator
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