Islamist preacher Hani al-Sibai has been given £123,000 over 20 years in legal aid to fight deportation from the UK despite alleged associations with terrorist organisations, due to human rights laws.
The public money was granted to al-Sibai to fight deportation to Egypt even though he was identified as a “key influencer” of the extremist Ansar al-Sharia movement which is believed to have recruited Seifeddine Rezgui, the terrorist who gunned down 38 tourists in Sousse, Tunisia, in June 2015.
The Daily Mail reports the extremist preacher described the 2005 7/7 terror attacks in London as a “great victory” for al-Qaeda which “rubbed the noses of the world’s eight most powerful countries in the mud”, and called Osama Bin Laden “a lion among the lions of Islam”.
Al-Sibai arrived in the UK in 1994 but was refused asylum in 1998 because of his involvement with the Egyptian terror group Islamic Jihad.
He was then jailed whilst awaiting deportation, but was freed after less than a year when the Egyptian government could not provide assurances al-Sibai’s life would not be endangered on his return. Human rights laws prevent deportation to countries where suspects may be tortured or executed.
In total, the hate preacher has received some £123,000 of public money which has paid for representation by top human rights lawyers over the past two decades.
Breitbart London reported Al-Sibai lives in a three-storey house in West London worth £1 million with his wife and five children and is claiming an estimated £48,000 a year in benefits. The family had also been given a car worth £16,000.
The newspaper reports Al-Sibai used public funds to sue the government for unlawful detention. The High Court ruled 14 days of his 10 months’ imprisonment were not legally justified and he should have been released as soon as the government was aware that he could not be deported. He then received compensation of an undisclosed amount.
The hate preacher used public funds once again to go to the European Court of Justice to challenge his inclusion on an official list of al-Qaeda affiliates and won the case.
The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, based in The Hague, referenced al-Sibai as a “key influencer” of Ansar al-Sharia. The centre’s report stated: “Al-Sibai’s involvement in international jihadism runs long and deep. When Ansar al-Sharia held a conference in May 2012, al-Sibai was one of several foreign scholars to address the audience by video.”
In November 2015, the hate preacher was condemned by an Upper Tribunal immigration court judge who accused him of “explicit direct encouragement or incitement to acts of terrorism”.
Al-Sibai has denied involvement in or incitement of terrorism, his influence on Ansar al-Sharia, radicalising Jihadi John, or that he rejoiced in the 2005 terror attacks. A lawyer representing him added, “To the best of his knowledge, he never met him. He asks we repeat his condemnation of the killing of innocent people wherever this occurs in the world, including those in Tunisia.”
He remains in the UK on “limited leave”, which can be renewed every six months pending alleged threats to his safety in Egypt.