An extremist preacher with links to Jihadi John and the Muslim Brotherhood is living freely in West London in taxpayer funded accommodation, as the British authorities are unable to deport him thanks to the Human Rights Act.
Hani al-Sibai, 54, a trained lawyer, first came to Britain in 1994 and claimed asylum. During his application process he admitted to his connections to Islamist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, telling the British authorities that he had been tortured in Egypt thanks to his work acting as a lawyer for those groups the Telegraph has reported.
His application was denied, and in 1998 he was jailed pending deportation. However, thanks to human rights laws which state that it is illegal to deport an asylum seeker to a country in which they may be tortured or murdered, his deportation was blocked. The UK has never been able to secure assurances over al-Sibai’s treatment from the Egyptian authorities, and consequently he remains in the UK.
al-Sibai now lives in leafy Hammersmith, West London, in a housing association house estimated to be worth £1 million, at the taxpayers’ expense. Public funds have also been used to fight off various attempts to deport him over the last fifteen years.
From his home, al-Sibai now runs an effective propaganda campaign for al-Qaeda, including the al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies. It is through this propaganda work that al-Sibai is said to have radicalised a number of young Muslims in the UK, including Mohammed Emwazi, otherwise known as Jihadi John.
Among his known associates are Adel Abdel Bari, another Egyptian-born jihadist and al-Qaeda operative currently serving 25 years in the US for a number of terror plots. Bari’s son Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a former London rapper, is known to be in Syria, and is thought to be part of Jihadi John’s network.
Another known associate of al-Sibai’s is Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over control of al-Qaeda following bin Laden’s death. The men are said to be “long term allies”.
His alleged links to al-Qaeda have led to his bank accounts and assets being frozen by the UN, US and UK authorities. Last year he used public funds to challenge his status as an al-Qaeda affiliate at the European Court of Justice.
In papers seen by the Telegraph, the European Commission’s sanctions committee allege that al-Sibai European Commission’s sanctions committee alleged that al-Sibai “has provided material support to al-Qaeda and has conspired to commit terrorist acts”.
It continued: “He has travelled internationally using forged documents, he has received military training and has belonged to cells and groups carrying out terrorist operations using force and violence involving intimidation, threats and damage to public and private property, as well as obstructing the activities of the public authorities.
“[The applicant] instructed others to go to Afghanistan to take part in the fighting there.
“He has used an internet site to support terrorist acts undertaken by al-Qaeda as well as to maintain contact with a number of supporters around the world.”
It concluded: “[The applicant] is wanted by the Egyptian authorities for involvement in terrorist crimes committed inside and outside Egypt, including criminal collusion with intent to commit acts of premeditated killing, destruction of property, unlicensed possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives, membership of a terrorist group, forgery of official and other documents, and theft.”
Robin Simcox, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and co-author of Islamist Terrorism: The British Connections, said: “The US Treasury has listed al-Sibai as an al-Qaeda associate and outlined his connections to the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, yet the UK has been powerless to deport this dangerous individual.
“Al-Sibai’s case shows the very clear national security threat that exists when the UK cannot deport preachers such as al-Sibai. He is able to radicalise others who go on to commit acts of violence, as seems to be the case with Mohammed Emwazi. The consequences can be devastating.”
Conservative minister Greg Hands, who first raised concerns over al-Sibai nearly a decade ago, said: “It is amazing that someone with these views is still being of influence today. This highlights again the need to repeal the Human Rights Act.”