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Oxford University Employee Suspended Following Alleged Links to Jihadism

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A member of staff at the United Kingdom’s top university has been suspended after it was alleged that he was arrested for terrorism offences and detained in Italy five years ago.

The employee, aged in his mid-thirties, was suspended following allegations he was involved in spreading extremist material and spent two-and-a-half years in a number of Italian prisons, reveals the Oxford Mail.

On Friday, a spokesman from Oxford University told the local newspaper that police were informed immediately after material was found online earlier this month that allegedly connected the staff member to terrorism.

No arrest has been made following the discovery of the material and the paper states that Thames Valley Police says it is not currently investigating any offences related to the man. An internal investigation is being undertaken by the university during which time he is suspended from employment.

The employee, who could not be named for legal reasons, worked in a “non-academic” role at the eleventh-century world-renowned institution. He denies committing an offence.

Police operations in eastern Italy in March 2012 led to the man being arrested on his way to travelling to Rabat, Morocco, as part of an investigation into jihadism, according to Italian reports cited by the Oxford Mail.

People pass the Radcliffe Camera, an 18th century Oxford University building housing reading rooms of the Bodleian Library, on August 1, 2007 in Oxford, England. (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

The suspect was believed to be, along with others arrested, a major link between international jihadist organisations and “the Italian network”. He then spent time in prison in institutions across Italy before being released and coming to the UK in 2014.

The Oxford Mail reports Italian sources state the man was a convert to Islam who changed his name and expressed a wish to travel to Afghanistan to “join the war-fighting formations of the ‘Holy War'”.

The employee also allegedly sent emails containing links to instruction manuals on how to undertake terror “attacks and guerilla techniques”.

Chairman of the university’s security committee and former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan police Helen King will head up a review of the circumstances surrounding the case. Ms. King, who is also the principal of St. Anne’s College, Oxford University, will then make “recommendations”.

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