During the tenure of the Green Party in Brighton and Hove, authorities missed “a number of chances” to catch radicalised, homegrown terrorists, believing they were instead “anti-social”.
Three brothers, Amer, Abdullah and Jaffa Deghayes were looked over multiple times, according to a new report seen by the Sunday Times.
According to the paper, the three fled the United Kingdom in 2013 to join Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al Nusra, with two being killed in 2014.
When Jaffa screamed “I will kill you . . . Allah will seek his revenge for me, do what you want to me, see what happens when judgment day comes, you will all go to hell”, he was dismissed by the council as being drunk.
The report states: “It is not clear if his religious views were looked at… or the impact of his religion on offending and views on others.”
He had previously referred to “all Americans [as] terrorists” and concerns over his radicalisation were broadly ignored by both the police and social services.
Even though police installed CCTV outside the Deghayes family home in 2008, Jaffa was described as a “charming” teenager. Their uncle, Omar Deghayes, had just released from Guantanamo Bay after being held for five years, though according to the Sunday Times: “there is no suggestion he played any role in their radicalisation”.
The Times states:
Jaffa, Abdullah and Amer came to the attention of police in 2009 when “there began to be reports of the boys being involved in ASB [antisocial behaviour] and crime, getting into fights”.
In September 2013, after he continued to be involved in low-level offending, Abdullah refused an offer from Sussex police’s anti-terrorism unit for “voluntary engagement”, the report says. By that time, Amer, who the report says was a father figure to his younger siblings after their parents’ divorce, was thought to have travelled to Libya or Turkey before crossing into Syria. Even so, a senior social worker deemed Abdullah to be neither a “serious risk to himself or others”.
In January 2014, Abdullah left the UK for Syria, breaching a youth rehabilitation order. Jaffa also fled Britain. The report says police were told by the Deghayes family that they had gone to Libya to visit relatives and it was several weeks before it was discovered they were in Syria.
Sussex police said: “We are co-operating with the [review]. We will not be commenting on the issues involved until it is published later this year.”
The council was controlled by the Green Party which they won in a remarkable election victory in 2011. In 2015, the council moved back to having more Labour councillors.