Judge to rule on Al-Faisal application April 4

Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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Parish Judge Broderick Smith is to rule on April 4 on a application from the defence team representing Jamaican Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah Al-Faisal that they be given copies of the alleged electronic recordings between the accused and an undercover agent as well as copies of an original video call and Skype video call recordings.

The 53-year-old accused, christened Trevor William Forrest, was arrested on August 25 last year on an extradition warrant from the United States of America on charges of conspiracy as a crime of terrorism, two counts of soliciting or providing for an act of terrorism, and two counts of attempted soliciting, or providing for an act of terrorism.

He is challenging the extradition request.

Consequently, his attorney, Bert Samuels, made the request during an application for discovery yesterday at the extradition hearing in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

But, in response, Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Jeremy Taylor, who is acting on behalf of the requesting state (US), told the judge that under the extradition treaty the requesting state determines the evidence that is placed before the courts in support of the extradition request and that this court has no jurisdiction to compel the US to provide more evidence.

However, he said the court may be asked for additional information if the evidence submitted by the requesting state is insufficient to make out a case against the accused.

Taylor also pointed out that this normally happens before the justice minister issues the authority to proceed with the request, although the treaty does make provision for additional information to be provided even after court proceedings have started.

At the same time, he said “Article 9 is not geared towards the subject being able to make out a defence. It is limited only to evidence to support an extradition request.”

Furthermore the deputy DPP said the his office is of the view that evidence submitted was sufficient, while noting that the accused would be entitled to disclosure by the US if he is extradited.

Al-Faisal was indicted on charges of recruiting would-be terrorists and was taken into custody after a months-long operation carried out by an undercover New York Police Department officer who communicated with him by e-mail, text and video chat.

Additionally, US prosecutors have accused him of offering to help the undercover officer travel to the Middle East to join fighters in the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, after the undercover officer told him she had medical skills and wanted to help the brothers.




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