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Irish Release and Immediately Arrest Suspected Ringleader of the 'Jihad Jane Conspiracy' to Kill Swedish Cartoonist Lars Vilks

03/01/2013

Photograph of Lars Vilks by Olof Ekström for Wikipedia

On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, Ali Charaf Damache, an Algerian man believed to have led the 'Jihad Jane Conspiracy' to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, was released from custody in Ireland after pleading guilty to threatening Majed Moughni, an American Muslim attorney and anti-terrorist protester.  Damache’s freedom was brief.  Irish police, the Gardaí, carrying out an American extradition warrant, arrested Damache leaving the Waterford District Court.  The Dublin High Court will decide if and when Damache will be extradited to the United States.

Damache was leaving the courthouse after having spent three years in an Irish prison.  He was accused of threatening attorney Moughni over the phone.  Damache was sentenced to four years in prison.  But the court suspended the last year of prison time and thus Damache was released. 

Damache initially denied threatening Moughni in response to Moughni’s activism.  Moughni had organized a rally that spoke out against Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, known in the media as the Underwear Bomber.  Abdulmutallab unsuccessfully attempted to smuggle explosives aboard a Northwest Airline flight from Amsterdam to Detroit back in 2009.  Damache changed his plea after prosecutors played a recording of the phone call, which, unbeknownst to Damache, attorney Moughni had wisely recorded.  In that recording, Damache says to Moughni, "If you were in front of me, I would shoot you.  I would put a bullet in your head."

Photograph of Majed Moughni courtesy of Majed Moughni

When reached for comment about the breaking news, Majed Moughni said he was happy to help in the prosecution of someone who had turned to violence.  As for his courageous decision to organize a rally against extremism, Moughni said, "We wanted the rest of the world to know that Muslims were against terrorism.  That's why we organized a protest against terrorism.  Our experience with the death threat has taught us that freedom will always triumph fear."

If and when Damache is extradited to the United States, he will face charges of conspiracy to provide material to support terrorists and attempted identity theft to facilitate an act of international terrorism.  American co-conspirators Mohammad Khalid, Jamie Ramirez, and Colleen LaRose, aka Jihad Jane, have all pled guilty to terrorism charges and are awaiting sentencing.

To read more about this development, click on the February 28th AP/ABC News article titled Algerian in Ireland linked to ‘Jihad Jane’ assassination plot to face U.S. extradition demand, and, the February 28th Independent article by Sarah Stack titled ‘Jihad Jane’ suspect Ali Charaf Damache faces extradition to US.  To learn more about Khalid, the youngest co-conspirator, read our previous post A Young Man, Who Plotted to Kill Swedish Cartoonist Lars Vilks, Pleads Guilty in US District Court to Conspiring to Provide Material Support to Terrorists.