Al-Qaeda Member Turned MI6 Spy: ‘Deradicalisation’ of Terrorists Doesn’t Work

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Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP via Getty Images

A former member of al-Qaeda turned MI6 spy said that there “is no such thing as a rehabilitated jihadist” and that efforts by the British authorities to deradicalise convicted terrorists will not work.

Aimen Dean, who joined the Mujahideen at the age of fifteen and was later recruited into al-Qaeda by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who helped mastermind the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York, said that he doesn’t “believe in deradicalisation”.

The former terrorist, who went on to work as a spy for the British intelligence service MI6, told The Telegraph that Islamist terrorists are “extremely treacherous” and that if they don’t confess and help to do “damage” to their jihadist cause of their own volition like he did, “you can’t trust them.”

“The only way [a jihadist] can demonstrate that they’ve renounced violent extremism is if they have sung like a canary and provided damaging intelligence on the networks that recruited them,” said Dean.

Dean is calling for longer prison sentences for convicted terrorists, as well as “harsher” conditions so that terrorists are unable to “congregate” while imprisoned. He says that the attempts by the British government to deradicalise terrorists “are riddled with naivety and a lack of understanding.”

“Use the deterrent of much longer sentences and make them serve the minimum in its entirety unless they show remorse and co-operation. If you need another Belmarsh, build one,” he suggested.

Following the Streatham and London Bridge terror attacks, both of which were committed by terrorists that were released early from prison, the British government of the is planning to pass emergency, retrospective legislation to end the automatic early release of convicted terrorists. Dozens of Islamist terrorists are set to be released from prison in Britain in the coming months under current laws.

The legislation would end the automatic release of terrorist offenders — but still allow for the release of inmates who have served two-thirds of their sentence after a review from the Parole Board.

Aimen Dean said that the release of terrorists in the months and years ahead means that more terrorists will try to mimic the savage attacks committed by Sudesh Amman and Usman Khan, saying “the appeal of this kind of atrocity will intensify.”

“The dangerous message Amman and Khan have sent is that if you’re a convicted terrorist, you either go out in a blaze of glory or you’re watched for your whole life,” he added.

Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson conceded that “really very few” Islamic terrorists can be rehabilitated.

“I think, looking at the problems we have with re-educating and reclaiming and rehabilitating people who succumb to Islamism, it’s very, very hard, and very tough, and it can happen, but the instances of success are really very few,” said Johnson.

“Deradicalising people is a very, very difficult thing to do… [there is] a big psychological barrier people find it hard to get back over — and that’s why I stress the importance of the custodial option,” he concluded.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

 

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