Foreign terror suspect thought to have been planning an IS-style attack granted legal aid to fight extradition

From The Telegraph

A foreign terror suspect who the security services believe was planning to carry out an Islamic State terror attack in London has been granted legal aid to claim asylum in the UK.

The man, who can only be named as 03, was detained in London two years ago in a counter-terrorism operation involving MI5 and Scottland Yard.

At his flat police found an Islamic State ‘passport’, manuals on fighting with the terror group, terrorism propaganda vowing to kill Westerners and a chilling mocked-up photograph of a terrorist holding a rifle and picture of a London Routemaster bus with the words ‘Sometimes you just got to get up and go.’

Last night the decision to grant the suspect with legal aid was criticised by Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who said: “My constituency is in the heart of middle Britain and I’m sure people living there will think that by using the legal aid system in this way he is abusing the hospitality, protection and privileges of this country.”

According to court documents, MI5 believes the man ‘aspires to engage in some form of attack-planning in the UK’ and ‘that the focus of an ISIL-inspired attack is most likely to be a high profile, heavily-populated city, such as London.’ 

The security services are concerned that he is planning to ‘use explosives, firearms, vehicles, knives or other bladed weapons, blunt instruments; or any combination of these.’

In 2010 he was arrested outside Finsbury Park station with a surgical knife rolled up in his shorts. In September 2017, 03, who does not have a driving licence, was stopped by police while he was driving a ‘high-powered Mercedes S500’. The car had been obtained earlier by 03’s brother, who was a passenger in the car and also didn’t have a driving licence.

Police now believe he was preparing to use the car for an IS-inspired vehicle attack against pedestrians. After O3’s arrest in November 2017 the Government began proceedings to deport him another country that for legal reasons cannot be named.

But O3 has been granted legal aid to challenge his deportation under human rights law on the grounds he needs international protection. His case is due to be heard, partly in secret, in June this year.

At his bail hearing last year lawyers for the Home Secretary said the risk ’03 poses to national security is such that his continued detention is the only way to fully manage this threat whilst the appeal proceedings are ongoing.’

The government added:  ‘If released on bail, ….. there is a real risk that 03 will engage in terrorism-related activity of a very serious nature, thereby posing a significant threat to public safety. There was a “potentially limited window of opportunity within which [03] could orchestrate and execute his attack-plans prior to his deportation”, which heightened the risk he would pose on bail.’

O3 converted to Islam in 2017 and denies he an extremist aligned to IS.


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