JAMAICA – Man accused of recruiting would-be ISIS terrorists remanded

Jamaican Muslim Cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, who has been accused of involvement in the recruitment of terrorist fighters for ISIS, is scheduled to return to the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court on September 11 for a possible bail application hearing.

The 53-year-old Muslim preacher, who was born Trevor William Forrest, was arrested last Friday in Kingston 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.

When al-Faisal appeared before Senior Parish Judge Chester Crooks for his extradition hearing yesterday, he was remanded after the court was informed by senior deputy director of public prosecutions Jeremy Taylor that the United States has not made full disclosure of the statements in the case.

Consequently a mention date was set for October 27, by which Taylor said he hopes to have all the evidence United States authorities will be relying on in their case against al-Faisal to make full disclosure to the defence.

According to a press release from the security ministry, al-Faisal was indicted on charges of recruiting would-be terrorists, and was arrested 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, the release said that Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance indicated that al-Faisal offered to help the undercover officer travel to the Middle East and join fighters with the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, and had dedicated his life to terror recruitment.

But al-Faisal’s attorney, Bianca Samuels, said her client is maintaining his innocence.

The accused, who was born in Jamaica, left as a teenager for religious studies abroad. He was arrested and convicted in 2003 under a seldom-used British law for inciting murder. He was deported to Jamaica in 2007 following his release and was banned by the Islamic Council of Jamaica from preaching in the country’s mosques because of his inflammatory sermons.

He subsequently visited Kenya sometime after but was deported to Jamaica in 2010 on suspicion of encouraging young men there to join an Islamic an extremist group in Somalia.

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