El-Faisal facing life in US prison after extradition

El-Faisal facing life in US prison after extradition


Friday, August 14, 2020

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PROSECUTORS in the United States are now preparing to start the trial of Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal who, if found guilty on terrorism-related charges, could face a sentence of between seven years and life in prison.

El-Faisal was extradited from Jamaica yesterday when officials of the United States Marshals Service and the New York City Police Department escorted him to New York.

The 54-year-old, christened Trevor William Forrest, was arrested in Jamaica on August 25, 2017 on an extradition warrant from the US, in relation to charges of conspiracy as a crime of terrorism, two counts of soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism, and two counts of attempted soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism.

He was taken into custody after a month-long operation, carried out by an undercover New York Police Department officer, who allegedly communicated with him via e-mail, text and video chat.

The allegations against el-Faisal are that he had an established online presence and was not only a strong supporter of the Islamic faith, but that he acted as a marriage broker for females who wanted to migrate and marry Islamic State (IS) members, and also had connections with people interested in joining the terrorist network.

The prosecutor also stated that, based on the allegations, el-Faisal had multiple conversations with an overseas female undercover officer on different social media platforms, to whom he allegedly provided names and contacts to help her join the IS network after she told him she had medical skills.

He fought his extradition for approximately three years, until his hopes were ended by the Court of Appeal last month.

The court ruled that his lawyers had failed to comply with the mandatory appeal filing requirements in the specified time, and that there was no arguable grounds of appeal.

Days later, Minster of Justice Delroy Chuck signed a surrender warrant to the United States for el-Faisal.

The controversial cleric was deported from the United Kingdom — where he had called home for several years — to Jamaica in 2007, after serving four years of a nine-year prison sentence, having been convicted of three charges of soliciting the murder of Jews, Americans, Hindus, and Christians, and two charges of using threatening words to stir up racial hatred.

Having returned to Jamaica, he made his way to Kenya but was deported from that country in January 2010 after being arrested on New Year’s Day for preaching at a mosque in Nairobi, breaching stipulations of his work permit.

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