Man Jailed for 18 Months for Helping Somali Journalist Flee Persecution

A man who tried to help a Somali journalist escape persecution by smuggling her into Ireland using his wife’s Swedish identity card has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Omar Adbuqadir (31) did not receive any payment for his actions, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday.

An immigration officer at Dublin Airport became suspicious when the woman’s face did not match the picture on the identity card she presented. Her real identity documents were discovered during a luggage search. The woman has since been granted asylum in Ireland.

Adbuqadir, who resides in Sandesslatt, Sweden, pleaded guilty to one count of people smuggling at Dublin Airport on November 3rd. He has previous convictions for minor road traffic offences, according to Interpol records, and has been in custody since his arrival in the country.

Garda Pat Murray told the court that Adbuqadir and the woman arrived at Dublin Airport on a flight from Madrid, posing as a married couple. However, the immigration officer noticed discrepancies, prompting further investigation.

The woman informed the gardaí that she had paid approximately €2,800 to an individual in Somalia, who then connected her with Adbuqadir. She explained that she was fleeing Somalia due to her work as a journalist.

Adbuqadir, originally from Somalia but living in Sweden, met the woman in Madrid and provided her with a “lookalike” Swedish identity card, which belonged to his wife. The court heard that a lookalike ID resembles the person trying to use it.

In defense, Oisín Clarke BL stated that Adbuqadir fled Somalia with his mother and siblings when he was 13 years old, as his father had been killed by extremists. Clarke argued that Adbuqadir agreed to help the journalist flee Somalia due to his own experiences, stating, “He was doing it for altruistic reasons.”

Judge Martin Nolan acknowledged Adbuqadir’s altruistic intentions but still sentenced him to 18 months in prison. The sentence was backdated to November when Adbuqadir was taken into custody.

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