Wed | May 27, 2020

Al-Faisal mounts challenge to extradition ruling

Published:Tuesday | February 12, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Attorney-at-law Bert Samuels has said that the accusations made against his client, Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal were not made in good faith and so it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him.

The attorney made this pronouncement yesterday as he mounted a challenge by way of a writ of habeas corpus to the May 2, 2018 extradition ruling made by Parish Court Judge Broderick Smith.

A writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a person who is in custody before the court to determine if his/her imprisonment or detention is lawful.

Al-Faisal is wanted by the United States for allegedly using a number of Internet-based platforms to persuade individuals around the world to travel to Syria to “take up the cause of the jihad”.


Making submissions at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston, Samuels argued that the extradition treaty cannot stand unless it passes the test of constitutionality. With that in mind, he said since a person’s right to due process is protected under the Constitution, the original source material from which the evidence is derived must be available to him.

A similar application to have access to the original source material was made previously, but the parish judge ruled that the power of discovery was held by the requesting state and not by the court.

Samuels further argued that the Charter of Rights 2011 states that everyone is guaranteed the right to a fair hearing in “ … any legal proceedings which may result in a decision adverse to his interest”.

He said this means that extradition hearings are not exceptions to the guarantee of a free hearing under the Constitution.

According to Samuels, given the Constitution and the powers granted to the judge by the Justices of the Peace Jurisdiction Act, his client should have been granted full disclosure.

The matter, which is scheduled for three days, is being heard by justices Carol Lawrence-Beswick, Kissock Laing and Stephanie Jackson-Haisley.

Born Trevor William Forrest in Westmoreland, he converted to Islam at age 16 and emigrated to Britain in the 1980s.

He was expelled from Britain in 2007 after serving a jail term for inciting racial hatred and urging his followers to murder Jews, Hindus, Christians, and Americans.

The cleric once led a London mosque attended by convicted terrorists and Britain has said that his teachings heavily influenced one of the bombers in the 2005 transport network attacks in London that killed 52 people.

Al-Faisal was deported to Jamaica from Kenya in January 2010 after being arrested on New Year’s Day for preaching at a mosque in Nairobi, breaching stipulations of his work permit.