A 26-year-old man has admitted in court to providing funding to terrorist organisation Islamic State from his home in Waterford.
Hassan Bal, with a former address at O’ Connell Street, Waterford, pleaded guilty at Waterford Circuit Court today to two counts of funding and attempted funding of Islamic State.
Mr Bal arrived in court wearing a blue and white check shirt, green jacket and grey trousers.
He only spoke once throughout the proceedings, when he was called upon to confirm that he is indeed Hassan Bal, replying “I am yes”, and also when he pleaded “guilty” to each of the charges put to him.
Originally from the UK, the accused moved to Ireland with his family when he was 12 years of age, living initially in Wexford before moving to Waterford in 2007. He holds an Irish passport and was in the process of becoming qualified to operate as an electrician.
At the time of his arrest last April, the district court heard that his wife was pregnant with the couple’s first child.
Mr Bal first pleaded guilty to unlawfully providing €400 in funds, via An Post/Western Union money transfer, in Co. Waterford on October 2nd of 2015 to a man named Stevo Maksimovic in the city of Brako in Bosnia-Herzegovina, intending or knowing that the funds would be used in whole or in part for the purposes of the terrorist group known as Islamic State.
This offence carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, on indictment.
Mr Bal also pleaded guilty to unlawfully and wilfully attempting to collect or receive cash from a person known to him as Omar Abu Aziz, by means of telephonic communications and an intermediary at an address at 2 Geron Way, London NW2 6CJ. This offence was committed on October 23 of 2015.
The defending attorney, Giollaiosa O Lidheadha SC, told the court it was a “very unusual case” and said the sentencing hearing will take up to two hours when it goes ahead.
He also handed into a court a document in relation to a request for an expert on radicalisation, Dr Daniel Koelher of the German Institute of Radicalisation and De-Radicalisation Studies, to carry out a report in relation to Hassan Bal.
He asked that Mr Koelher be given access to interviews with Mr Bal and any associated documents including the Book of Evidence; that the expert provide a report on why Mr Bal became “associated with such activities” and if he has since been de-radicalised and whether he does not appear to support “terrorist organisations like Islamic State” anymore.
The judge, Eugene O’ Kelly, agreed to extend the legal aid certificate for the defence to enable “an expert, independent report on radicalisation”.
Hassan Bal was then remanded in custody and is set to appear in court again for sentencing on April 10.