Al-Qaeda Terror Suspect Caught At Olympic Park

By David Barrett
Telegraph

The alleged al-Qaeda militant was caught crossing through the Olympic Park five times, breaking a ban imposed by the Home Secretary, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

The 24 year-old has previously tried to get to Afghanistan, allegedly for terrorist training, and is suspected of fighting for the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab, which has been responsible for thousands of deaths, including those of Western aid workers. He is accused of trying to recruit other Britons to its cause.

A Home Office lawyer warned after his discovery in the Olympic area that the man – known as CF – wanted to “re-engage in terrorism-related activities, either in the UK or Somalia” and is “determined to continue to adhere to his Islamist extremist agenda”.

His detention is the most serious security alert yet to hit the Olympic Park.

It is disclosed today after a week which saw 14 terror-related arrests across Britain, including a white Muslim convert detained over an alleged plan to carry out a major terrorist attack.

The Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, will be protected by the largest peacetime security operation ever seen in Britain when the event begins on July 27.

CF is one of nine suspected risks to national security who are subject to Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpim) – legal orders which restrict their movements and computer use and who they can meet.

They were introduced to replace control orders, which were abolished by the Coalition after long-running controversy over whether they breached human rights and threatened civil liberties.

CF is being prosecuted for breaking the conditions of his order after he was arrested last month and held in police custody. He challenges the banning order at the High Court on Monday.

He is charged with five separate breaches between April and May of an order specifically banning him from using the London Overground rail route which passes through the centre of the Olympic Park.

He apparently travelled from Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station in north London to Stratford, the station for the Games.

Stratford station is beside the Westfield shopping centre which people will go through to get into the Olympic Park, where most of the events are to be held.

The area is heavily protected and regarded by security services and police as among the most significant targets for terrorists.

His presence in the banned zone was discovered because of an electronic tag which he must wear under the conditions of his order, which banned travelling on the route he took or being in the vicinity of the Games.

The tag uses GPS satellite technology to trace his exact movements, and revealed he had passed through the Olympic Park repeatedly.

The latest security scare came to light in a court case involving CF and another terror suspect, known as CC.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has compiled a case against CF which says he attempted to travel to Afghanistan to fight jihad and take part in suicide operations in 2008.

He was prosecuted in Britain but absconded during his trial in June 2009 and fled to Somalia. In his absence he was acquitted of any crime.

Officials claim CF, who comes from a large family of Somali origin from north London, attended a terrorist training camp and fought alongside jihadis from the al-Qaeda group al-Shabaab.

The Home Office says CF is linked to a group of six British nationals who received terror training from al-Qaeda leader Saleh Nabhan, who was killed in a dramatic raid by American Navy Seals in 2009, an operation with parallels to the raid last year which killed Osama bin Laden.

CF was possibly involved in CC’s plans to attack Western interests in Somaliland – which has broken away from Somalia and does not have a fundamentalist Islamic regime – the court heard, and attempted to find recruits in the UK for fighting overseas.

CF, who married a Somali woman in Mogadishu in 2010, suggested he and CC may have been betrayed to the authorities by CC’s brother-in-law for a bounty payment. Both men deny involvement in terrorism.

They were arrested in Burao, Somaliland on January 14 2011 and deported to Britain. When he returned that March CF was jailed for his previous absconding offence.

He was released from HMP High Down, Surrey, in May 2011, after serving just under two months’ imprisonment. He was then placed on a control order and required to live in Norwich.

A Tpim restricting his movements, his access to electronic communications, and the people he is allowed to meet was imposed when the measures came into force earlier this year.

In papers in the High Court proceedings, James Eadie QC, for the Home Office, said: “The Secretary of State continues to assess that were it not for the Tpim notice, CF would re-engage in terrorism-related activities, either in the UK or Somalia.

“Notwithstanding that CC and CF have now been subject to controls for longer than a year, it cannot be said that either of them has renounced his commitment to terrorism, nor has the passage of time significantly diminished the risk they present.”

He added: “The Secretary of State assessed that it was necessary to impose a control order on CF to manage the risk posed by CF following his release from prison, as he was previously successful in absconding from bail.

“As CF has previously re-engaged in Islamist extremist activity, despite being on bail, previous disruptive action has not been enough to dissuade him from his involvement in Islamist extremism.

“His previous conduct has demonstrated a level of commitment to Islamist extremism, and CF is therefore determined to continue to adhere to his Islamist extremist agenda.”

His lawyers claimed at a High Court hearing last Friday that he had been given “erroneous advice” by his solicitors. Lawyers said he had been travelling to attend legal meetings at his solicitors’ office in Stratford.

CF has since been released on bail and is due to be prosecuted for breaching his Tpim measures later this year.

A full court hearing challenging the two suspects’ Tpim measures, as well as the legality of control orders they were previously under, begins at the High Court on Monday before Mr Justice Lloyd Jones.

The cases of CF and CC are the first to come to light where terror suspects have been placed on control orders or Tpims after returning to the UK from suspected terror activity abroad.

In previous known cases, the legal measures have been used to restrict extremists whom the Home Secretary has been unable to deport to their home countries due to human rights concerns.

CF and CC are also bringing legal claims against the Government, claiming that British agents were complicit in torturing them in a Somali prison.

Their lawyers claim the two men were assaulted and subjected to “mock executions” before being illegally deported back to Britain, which they say was “unlawful rendition”.

The allegations will reignite claims that British intelligence agencies have been complicit in alleged ill-treatment of terror suspects overseas.

They echo the case of Binyam Mohammed, a former Guantánamo Bay detainee, who claimed an MI5 officer colluded in his torture.

Danny Friedman, the barrister representing CF, told the High Court last week that “at least one, if not more, UK agents participated in unlawful conduct” including “hooding, assaults, mock execution and humiliation” when the men were first detained.

When visited by a British consular representative one month later, CF and CC complained of being ill-treated and said they suspected some of the perpetrators were British, but no action was taken, according to court papers.

CF also endured sleep deprivation and “forced standing” in Hargeisa prison in Somaliland, where he was held for 50 days without access to a court, Mr Friedman said.

Timothy Otty QC, the barrister representing CC, claimed there was “serious wrongful conduct on the part of the security services or other agents of the UK overseas”.

The latest Olympic Park security scare comes after two Muslim converts were arrested last month on suspicion of plotting an attack on the Olympic canoeing venue in Waltham Abbey, Essex.

The men aged 18 and 32 were detained at their homes in east London after being seen acting suspiciously in a dinghy at the sporting location on the River Lea.

Last week two separate anti-terror operations resulted in 14 arrests. Seven men were being questioned last night after firearms were found in car impounded by police after it was stopped on the M1 in South Yorkshire during a routine check for uninsured drivers, and a series of linked raids were launched.

Separately a seventh person – a woman, 22 – was arrested at a home in Hackney, east London, after six arrests made across the city in London by anti-terrorist police.

In February, more than 2,500 emergency services personnel and civil servants took part in a drill which simulated a terrorist attack on London’s transport network during the Olympics.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said: “CF has been charged with five offences of breaching his Tpim. He is next in [criminal]court on July 27.”

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