Jihadi John’s extremist ‘mentor’ cannot be deported because of his human rights
Hani al-Sibai, 54, is believed to have influenced and radicalized a number of young men, including Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) executioner Jihadi John, whose real name is Mohammed Emwazi.
Despite being identified as an affiliate of al-Qaeda, attempts to deport him from the UK have been blocked for more than 15 years because of his human rights.
Egyptian-born al-Sibai is living in a taxpayer subsidized flat in Hammersmith, London, worth up to £1 million. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who became the leader of al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden’s death, and al-Sibai are said to be “long term allies.”
Other associates of al-Sibai are Adel Abdel Bari, another Egyptian-born jihadist and al-Qaeda operative who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the US for a number of terror plots. Bari’s son Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a former London rapper, is known to be fighting with ISIS in Syria.
Al-Sibai came to the UK in 1994 and claimed asylum. He admitted he worked as a lawyer for Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and said he was tortured in Egypt because of his work.
After his application was denied, he awaited deportation in 1998. However, because of 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.
Since the UK couldn’t get assurances from the Egyptian authorities that al-Sibai would receive a fair and just treatment, he has remained in the UK ever since. Although he was added to the UN’s al-Qaeda sanctions list ten years ago, he still has temporary leave to remain in the UK.
Last year, al-Sibai went to the European Court of Justice in a bid to get his status as an al-Qaeda affiliate removed and to regain access to bank accounts – using public funds for the court case.
According to the Telegraph, the European Commission’s sanctions committee concluded that al-Sibai “provided material support to al-Qaeda and has conspired to commit terrorist acts.”
It added: “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.”
“[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,’ told the Telegraph: “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 radicalize others who go on to commit acts of violence, as seems to be the case with Mohammed Emwazi. The consequences can be devastating.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a home-grown British Bill of Rights if his Conservative Party is re-elected in May. He has also vowed to limit the power of the European Court of Human Rights.
Following the policy announcement last October, Kate Allen, head of Amnesty International, denounced the PM’s proposal, emphasizing the Human Rights Act has historically been a bedrock of social, legal, and economic protection. “It’s disappointing to hear the PM vowing to scrap the Human Rights Act when it has done so much good. We should be defending it,” she said.