Afghan charged after murder of woman came to Ireland in month of Level 5 Covid restrictions

Habib Shamel (26) has been charged at Belfast Magistrates Court with the murder of 27 year old Geila Ibram, who came to Ireland just weeks ago from Romania, in Limerick on Tuesday.

Shamel, an Afghan national, was arrested on Thursday having travelled to Belfast on Wednesday.

Presumably the northern police had better information than the description of ‘a man with a bandaged hand’ that had been released by the Gardaí.

The Belfast court heard that Gardai were notified that Ms Ibram “had been killed through numerous stab wounds of a vicious and frenzied nature.”

Shamel was remanded in custody until May 2 despite an attempt by his legal team to have him granted bail on the grounds that as a follower of the Islamic faith that the prison service would not be able to accommodate his observance of his religion.

The Islamic period of “reflection, fasting and community” known as Ramadan ends on April 21 this year.

The court was told that Shamel came to Ireland in October 2020 – although this was at first reported in some outlets as October 2022 – and claimed asylum here. He has not been granted asylum it would appear but has been granted leave to remain in the country.

The long delay in processing his application is of course not unusual. October 2020 was, of course, a period when Ireland was in the midst of a lockdown due to the panic over Covid. On October 19 that month, the state reimposed Level 5 restrictions that included domestic travel restrictions of 5 km, as well as a ban on almost every activity that involved the gathering of more than a small number of people.

And yet during the month of October 2020, Shamel was among 126 persons who applied here for asylum through the International Protection Office. The very fact that he even managed to get to Ireland at a time when not only was most international travel banned, but when there was no direct flights from Afghanistan, means that he had come to Ireland from another safe country in which he was obligated under international law to apply for asylum.

His subsequent adventures here up until this week are so far unknown, and are likely to remain so for the most part due to the reluctance of people who hold this information to release it in the public interest.

Instead, we have already seen a number of journalists and political activists attempt to frame the event in an ideological framework that bears absolutely no relevance to the murder.

It’s by now a pattern that’s well established: they have shamelessly done the same with other recent murders.

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