6/15/2024
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Man jailed over ‘altruistic’ attempt to smuggle Somali journalist fleeing persecution into Ireland

The Irish Times
Isabel Hayes
Friday May 3, 2024

Court told Omar Adbuqadir (31) did not receive any money when he gave woman his wife’s Swedish identity card to help her enter State


The court heard the journalist’s identity card did not match the facial recognition technology and a Dublin Airport immigration officer’s suspicions were aroused. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

An “altruistic” man who tried to smuggle a Somalian journalist into the State because she was fleeing persecution has been jailed for 18 months.

Omar Adbuqadir (31) did not receive any money when he gave the woman his wife’s Swedish identity card so she could enter Ireland via a flight from Madrid, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday.

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An immigration officer at Dublin Airport noticed that the woman’s face did not match the picture in the card and her real identity documents were found when her luggage was searched. The woman has since applied for, and been granted, asylum in Ireland, the court heard.

Adbuqadir, with an address in Sandesslatt, Sweden, pleaded guilty to one count of people smuggling at Dublin Airport on November 3rd last. He has previous convictions for some minor road traffic offences, a check from Interpol showed. He has been in custody since he entered the country.

Garda Pat Murray told the court that Adbuqadir and the woman arrived at Dublin Airport on a flight from Madrid on the day in question, posing as a married couple. However, the journalist’s identity card did not match the facial recognition technology and the immigration officer’s suspicions were aroused.

The woman told gardaí that she had paid about €2,800 to a man in Somalia, who then put her in touch with Adbuqadir. She said she was fleeing Somalia due to her work as a journalist, the court heard.

Adbuqadir, who is originally from Somalia, but living in Sweden, then met the woman after she flew to Madrid. He gave her a “lookalike” Swedish identity card, which was actually his wife’s. The court heard a lookalike ID is where the photo resembles the person trying to pass it off as their own.

Oisín Clarke BL, defending, said Adbuqadir fled the regime in Somalia with his mother and siblings when he was 13. His father was killed by extremists, the court heard. He said Adbuqadi agreed to help the journalist flee Somalia due to his own experiences. “He was doing it for altruistic reasons.”

Sentencing Adbuqadi, Judge Martin Nolan accepted that he committed the offence for “altruistic purposes” but sentenced him to 18 months in prison, which he backdated to when the accused went into custody last November.



 





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