Terrorism probe involves FBI, Interpol, and Met

The Garda-led investigation into the funding of international terrorism which led to the arrest and charge of an Irish citizen last week has involved the FBI, Interpol and the London Metropolitan Police, a court has been told.

Hassan Bal, aged 25, formerly of an address at O’Connell St in Waterford, was refused bail when he made his second appearance before Waterford District Court yesterday.

He is charged with providing funding for a foreign terrorist group on October 2, 2015, and attempting to collect funding for a foreign terrorist group on October 23, 2015.

Gardaí objected to bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the alleged offences; the potential sentence if convicted, which could be up to 20 years; and the risk of flight out of the country by Mr Bal if granted bail.

Detective Sergeant Donal Donohoe told the court he believed the accused was likely to commit similar offences if granted bail. He also believed the accused was a flight risk as the address he was living in was no longer available to him.

“He no longer has a permanent address in this country,” said Det Sgt Donohoe. His wife was from the UK and didn’t have any ties to this country, apart from to Mr Bal himself, he said. “As part of this investigation we made inquiries through Interpol and other police forces, primarily the London Metropolitan Police and the FBI.”

Cross-examining, Ken Cunningham said Mr Bal’s mother was willing to stand bail for him and allow him to live in her home. “I honestly believe,” said the detective, “that she is not aware of the full facts of the case.”

Mr Bal is originally from the UK but moved to Ireland 14 years ago with his family and lived in Waterford for several years.

He worked as a trainee electrician, is married, and lived in rented accommodation in the city centre before his arrest last week.

The accused’s mother, Dr Caroline Ward-Fahy, said it was “very shocking” to be in this situation.

Inspector Tony Lonergan asked her how she proposed to ensure, if her son was granted bail, that he would comply with his bail conditions.

“Since my son was born, when I tell him to do something, he will do it,” she said.

“He will do that as his duty to God because his mother is a very important part of his faith.”

Asked what assurance she could give of her son complying with any bail conditions, Dr Ward-Fahy said: “The strongest assurance you can ever have is that my son is obedient to me, because of his faith.”

Mr Cunningham said his client is resident in Ireland since 2003, is an Irish citizen, his mother and his siblings are in Ireland, and his wife is also in Ireland and expecting their first baby.

Judge Staunton refused bail and remanded Hassan Bal in custody, to appear again in the district court on May 9.


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