Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Liverpool 'child asylum seekers' found to be adults

Silhouettes of two people inside a bus waiting to be transferredImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe government say age-disputed cases are "challenging"
Twenty-four asylum seekers who claimed they were children after being sent to Liverpool were found to be adults, the city's council has said.
The authority said another 15 asylum seekers "should have been identified as children" by the government and accommodated in London instead.
A Home Office spokesman said age-disputed cases remain "a very challenging area".
Liverpool City Council wants to recover £657,000 for supporting the children.
A council document said 39 asylum seekers sent to Liverpool by the Home Office in 2018 "have then claimed they were children".
The authority "had to pay for an 'age assessment' for each one (costing £1,500 each) that concluded that 15 were children and 24 were adults".

'Very challenging'

Support for children includes more benefits and educational provision, "which they cannot access if they are an adult seeking asylum", according to the document.
"The 15 children should not have been sent by the Home Office to Liverpool," it continued, "they should have been identified as children by the Home Office and therefore received support from a local social services (such as in Croydon) and not be a cost to Liverpool City Council".
As they had been assessed as children in Liverpool, the council was obliged to support them - the costs of which are "approximately £657,000 per year".
It said it "should be able to recover the costs associated with the children who should never have been sent to Liverpool".
The document also highlighted:
  • the council has been "threatened" with judicial reviews from legal advisers for some of the asylum seekers found to be adults
  • it was providing them with accommodation at a cost of "approximately £350,000 per year" to avoid legal costs
  • it has decided to fund legal advice to challenge the next six cases "where the young person is assessed as an adult and a judicial review is threatened by the asylum seeker's legal adviser"
  • the council has asked the Home Office to fund independent age assessments earlier in the process
A Home Office spokesman said "safeguarding children" was a priority, adding "age-disputed cases remain a very challenging area of work in which no single assessment technique, or combination of techniques, is likely to determine an individual's age with precision".
"The Home Office will treat someone claiming to be a child as an adult where their physical appearance and demeanour very strongly suggests that they are significantly over 18."
He added that funding for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children was under review.

'Threat of court'

David Simmonds, deputy chairman for the Local Government Association, said the issue was spread nationwide.
"The process at the border is pretty weak because there is no definitive way of checking age.
"Lawyers know a judicial review will cost a council between £20,000 and £60,000 and use the threat of court to get their client what they want.
"Fair play to Liverpool for trying to stand up to it. But win or lose, the taxpayer always loses out."

Monday, December 10, 2018

'ISIS-supporting' Uber driver 'attacked police with a samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace

  • Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 27, drove a blue Toyota Prius at a marked police van
  • Uber driver was sprayed with CS gas and arrested after shouting 'Allahu Akbar'
  • Armed with a sword, he scuffled with officers who required hospital treatment
  • Chowdhury, of Luton, left a suicide note on his sister's laptop, Old Bailey heard 
An alleged terrorist who attacked police officers with a samurai sword outside Buckingham Palace left a suicide note which read: 'The Queen will be in hellfire'. 
Mohiussunnath Chowdhury drove his Toyota Prius through traffic cones at a marked police van and reached for the blade on August 25 last year, the Old Bailey heard.
The Uber driver was sprayed with CS gas and arrested after shouting 'Allahu Akbar' during a scuffle with two officers outside the royal residence, jurors were told.
Chowdhury, 27, drove with a coal black samurai sword and a knife sharpener from his home in Luton, to the road opposite Buckingham Palace.
He then allegedly swerved in front of a police van and the two officers inside had to be taken to hospital after the struggle at 8.30pm.
Mohiussunnath Chowdhury drove his Toyota Prius through traffic cones at a marked police van and reached for this blade (pictured) on August 25 last year, the Old Bailey heard
Mohiussunnath Chowdhury drove his Toyota Prius through traffic cones at a marked police van and reached for this blade (pictured) on August 25 last year, the Old Bailey heard
The terror suspect drew 'posters' in prison of an officer being shot by a man shouting 'Allahu Akbar', the jury heard. 
Chowdhury also sketched a picture of a plane hitting the Twin Towers, the Old Bailey was told.
He then pinned the posters up on his cell wall after he was remanded in custody ahead of his terror trial, it was said.
Chowdhury was born in London in May 1991 and later moved to Luton, working as a self-employed Uber driver.
Prosecutor Timothy Cray told the jury that Chowdhury planned to die as a martyr, fighting in the name of Allah.
In his 'suicide note' which he left on his sister's laptop on the night, Chowdhury wrote: 'Tell everyone I love them and that they should struggle against the enemies of Allah with their lives and their property.
'The Queen and her soldiers will all be in hellfire. They go to war with Muslims around the world and kill them without any mercy. They are the enemies Allah tells us to fight.'
The Uber driver, from Luton, accepts he drove his car to the palace then brandished a samurai sword on August 25, 2017.
The Uber driver was sprayed with CS gas and arrested after shouting 'Allahu Akbar' during a scuffle with two officers outside the royal residence, jurors were told
The Uber driver was sprayed with CS gas and arrested after shouting 'Allahu Akbar' during a scuffle with two officers outside the royal residence, jurors were told
The Old Bailey heard he now claims he was trying to trigger a 'death by cop suicide' and not a terror attack.
But an imitation gun was also found at his flat which prosecutors say could have been used to fool cops instead of the 'deadly' sword.
Prosecutor Timothy Cray showed the jury the drawings found inside his cell at Belmarsh Prison on September 27.
One image, scribbled using different colour pens, included a speech bubble from a terrorist with the words 'Allahu Akbar', alongside a police officer riddled with bullet holes.

How Chowdhury 'admitted' to being radicalised in texts about School of Rock 

When one of his friends complained that Chowdhury was sending him a documentary about ISIS taking sex slaves, Chowdhury allegedly admitted that he had been radicalised.
Moynoor, the friend, wrote to him on August 19, six days before the attack: 'Why did u send me that? And what's your obsession about ISIS and sex slaves?'
Chowdhury replied: 'I don't know why I send you these things man' and Moynoor asked him: 'Can you stop sending me stuff like that then?'
'Alright. It's just information that I wanted to share. Nomsayin [know what I'm saying],' Chowdhury insisted.
'Nah. I don't nomsayyin,' Moynoor hit back. 'All this ISIS stuff you message me about. Not cool yaar. I get worried about you. Being radicalised.'
'Brah [brother] I'm already radicalised,' Chowdhury replied.
In another online conversation with a friend about the film School of Rock, Chowdhury spoke of his admiration for an al-Qaeda preacher.
Reyan Ali messaged on July 25, four weeks before the attack: 'U reckon we classify as Muslims? We're freaks. I plead allegiance to the band of Mr Sneeably [sic, the teacher in School of Rock]. I don't bow to no man, or dog. I will not fight Mr Sneably for creative control of the band.'
But Chowdhury sent him a video by the al-Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a US drone attack, prompting Ali to ask if his friend had joined the missionary group Tablighi Jamaat.
'I don't do Tobleek stuff,' Chowdhury replied. 'This man died for Islam. His words are true.
The true Islam.'
When Ali questioned why Chowdhury was using the black flag of ISIS as a display picture on Whatsapp, Chowdhury told him: 'It is a flag that will unite this ummah [Muslim nation].' 
He also referenced part '9:111' of the Quran, writing in capital letters: 'Allah has bought the lives of the believers in exchange for paradise.'
Mr Cray said: 'These two pieces of paper he pinned up on the wall of his cell, almost like posters.
'The first headed 'the exchange or bargain'.
'It states, with reference to verses from the Holy Quran, which the defendant interprets is an exchange or a bargain - we're taking it from his point of view.
'It seems that martyrdom, the exchange for that, an act of martyrdom, is paradise - that's the interpretation.
'He has illustrated the exchange or bargain by someone, a masked fighter, shouting Allahu Akbar, firing a gun into the chest of an unarmed, uniformed police officer - it seems outside number 10 Downing Street.
'The defendant accepts that he drew this.'
A search of his prison cell was then carried after the discovery, which revealed a piece of paper headed 'TAGHUT', a term for worship other than of Allah.
The paper, also written mainly in capital letters, included a list of 14 'Allies of Satan'.
The top three were 'USA and all allies', 'UK/Canada/Australia' and EU nations.
Mr Cray then showed jurors the 'realistic looking', chrome imitation BB pistol discovered in Chowdhury's bedroom.
He said: 'We say that if the defendant really is [saying], 'all I wanted to do is get myself killed by the confronting armed police', waving this around outside Buckingham Palace shouting 'Allahu Akbar' would do the job pretty well.
'If you didn't want to do anybody else any harm, why take the deadly weapon, the sharpened sword, when you could take something you know is perfectly harmless?
'Any armed police officer seeing you with that, pointing it, is going to shoot you dead.'
The jury was told during his police interview after the attack, Choudhury described it as 'surreal'.
Mr Cray said: 'He said that he was unhappy about the way things were, that our Queen is the root of the problems and he mentioned the corruption and the fact that life, society here was messed up, in his words.
'He said that due to the fact that police worked for the Queen, he planned to confront the police.
'He said he didn't think he would be able to go through with it, he said he just wanted to stand up against the atrocities that were going on in the world.'
The trial continues.

Women make better recruiters for ISIS and far-right terror groups 'because of their empathy and soft approach', study finds

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Councillor, 50, is suspended after sending a porn photo of a topless woman to a mothers' group DURING a council meeting

  • Councillor Mohammad Maroof faces probe for forwarding the unsolicited image 
  • He accidentally uploaded explicit image instead of council meeting footage 
  • The married father-of-two, 50, has now been banned from council meetings
Mohammad Maroof distributed the photo to a Mums United WhatsApp group
Mohammad Maroof distributed the photo to a Mums United WhatsApp group
A Labour councillor has been suspended after he accidentally sent a photo of a topless woman to a group of mothers during a meeting on knife crime.
Married father-of-two Mohammad Maroof distributed the photo to a Mums United WhatsApp group as its founder Sahira Irshad was presenting a petition to the full council meeting on knife crime.
The 50-year-old said he was trying to attach a video of Ms Irshad speaking and has now been banned from attending council meetings pending an investigation.  
Cllr Maroof says the image was set to him earlier in the day on a different Whatsapp message and was automatically downloaded into his phone's photo file. 
Mr Maroof, who also works as a taxi driver, instead 'accidentally' attached the explicit image and asked for it to be deleted 'within seconds' of sending it.
He has since apologised for what he described as an 'honest mistake'.
The Mums United group, from left, Alice Watts, Sahira Irshad, Julie Higginson and Nighat Basharat
The Mums United group, from left, Alice Watts, Sahira Irshad, Julie Higginson and Nighat Basharat
Mr Maroof apologised for the 'honest mistake'
Mr Maroof apologised for the 'honest mistake'
He said: 'I sincerely apologise. I had no intention to do such a thing and to cause such disruption. 
'I have a lot of respect for the group. I am very embarrassed and this was an honest mistake.
'This is my private phone and I receive so many things that my Whatsapp has been set up to automatically save everything in my phone's photo file.
'Somebody sent me this photo, it may have come in the morning, and it went into my phone's file.
'I tried to send the group a video and by mistake, I pressed the wrong photo.
'As soon as I realised, I asked for it to be deleted as I couldn't delete it myself. It was only there for a second.' 
Although the photo was deleted, it has still prompted complaints.
One member of the WhatsApp group, who did not want to be named, said: 'Is this what is expected of our elected representatives? Absolutely disgraceful.
'It says a lot when women in his area are crying out for support and he is too busy posting this.'
Mr Maroof, who Studied Masters degree in Law (LLM) at University of Derby, says he helped to set up the Mums United group to empower women.
The married father-of-two, 50, has since been suspended from his role as a councillor  
The married father-of-two, 50, has since been suspended from his role as a councillor  
'They came to me and asked how to deal with anti-social behaviour and I gave them the idea of setting up a group, I'm proud of helping to do that,' he added.
'I have worked with Sahira and other members and I suggested the name because we need to give confidence and assurance to female constituents so, if there are some issues, they feel safe and comfortable going to talk to people.'
Labour Leader Julie Dore has suspended Cllr Maroof pending an investigation.
She said: 'This is, of course, a very serious matter.
'Everyone has the right to explain how something like this could have happened but because of the seriousness of this, we will suspend Cllr Maroof immediately until we have ascertained the details.'
A group of mothers formed Mums United to help support and stop people falling into exploitative gangs and help nurture the next generation.

Headteacher and director of learning centre where children were praised for saying ‘Muslims and animals’ were saved in Noah’s Ark are fined for running an illegal school

  • Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre in Southall, London, was not registered as a school
  • But taught 60 children for five mornings a week and set homework every night
  • Head teacher Beatrix Bernhardt and director Nacerdine Talbi have been fined
  • Convicted of conducting an unregistered independent educational institution
Head teacher Beatrix Bernhardt, 38, director Nacerdine Talbi, 47, and the Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre have now been convicted of conducting an unregistered independent educational institution
Head teacher Beatrix Bernhardt, 38, director Nacerdine Talbi, 47, and the Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre have now been convicted of conducting an unregistered independent educational institution
The director and head teacher of a Muslim 'learning centre' for home-educated children have been fined for running an illegal, unregistered school in a landmark case.
Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre in Southall, west London, was not registered as a school but taught about 60 children for five mornings a week and set homework every night.
Head teacher Beatrix Bernhardt, 38, director Nacerdine Talbi, 47, and the Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre have now been convicted of conducting an unregistered independent educational institution after a three day trial. 
Ofsted inspectors twice visited the centre based inside a three-storey office block on Uxbridge Road on 12 October and 14 November last year.
They found more than 50 children between five and 11 years old being taught there, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard. 
It separately emerged that a pupil's drawing was pinned to the wall at the 'school' which claims only 'Muslims and animals' were saved in the Ark. It received a tick from the teacher 
The centre was set up to provide support and tuition for home-educated children, charging parents up to £250 a month.
At the time of Ofsted's inspections last year it had 58 pupils, the court heard.
Talbi told the court the teaching of children never exceeded 18 hours at the centre's doors which were open between 9am and 2pm.
He said he felt 'intimidated' by the Ofsted visits, adding: 'They didn't give me a chance to explain how the centre is run.'
Pictured: It separately emerged that a pupil's drawing was pinned to the wall at the 'school' which claims only 'Muslims and animals' were saved in the Ark. It received a tick from the teacher
Pictured: It separately emerged that a pupil's drawing was pinned to the wall at the 'school' which claims only 'Muslims and animals' were saved in the Ark. It received a tick from the teacher
Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said: 'The three defendants are charged that between 3rd September and 15th November 2017 they conducted an unregistered independent educational institution.
'It is accepted by the defence that the centre is a school in that it provides primary education and/or secondary education to five or more pupils of compulsory school age.
'It is clear too that the centre is not maintained by the local authority.
'The issues for the court are can it be sure that the centre is being operated as an unregistered independent educational institution providing full-time education and if so whether the defendants controlled its operation.

Unregistered schools 

An ‘independent school’ is defined as a school not maintained by a local authority at which more than 18 hours of education is offered each week for five or more pupils of compulsory school age. Exceptions are non-maintained special schools. 
Beatrix Bernhardt and Nacerdine Talbi were found to be running a school offering full-time education without registering with the Secretary of State as required.  
This is contrary to section 96 (1) and (2) of the Education and Skills Act 2008. 
'Based on the defendant's own schedule, I find 27 children were being educated for 25 hours a week in September, October and November 2017.
'There would appear to have been a number of other children too who were being educated for more than 18 hours a week. I accept however that other pupils only came in for three days a week and others still did a couple of sessions a day.
'The hours of attendance at the centre for the 27 listed in Mr Talbi's schedule was 9am to 2pm.
'I have no doubt from the documents exhibited that the academic year at the centre is a ten month year. The fees being charged were £230 per month for primary school age pupils and £250  for secondary school age and envisaged a ten month year.
'I find that Fridays were a special religious day but according to the many examples of the timetable there were Arabic lessons taking place.
'Teachers were present and that Arabic was taught although I accept there may have been more informality on the Friday and parents may well have been present. Whether parents were present or not education was still being provided.
'I find that the children were given homework over and above their hours at school.
'In terms of Ms Bernhardt's role in the centre, Ms Bernhardt and Mr Talbi have done their dishonest best to mislead and persuade this court that she was not the head teacher of the school at the relevant time.
'I am sure she was the headteacher. She said as much to the inspectors; she did all the talking at the October 2017 inspection; I noted that when Ms Assefa needed to speak to someone about the second inspection she rang Ms Bernhard and not her husband.
'Having seen her give evidence I have no doubt that she was in joint control of the school'
The Al-Istiqamah Learning Centre was fined £100.
Nacerdine Talbi was orded to pay costs of £385 and Beatrix Bernhardt must pay costs of £485.
Both Talbi and Bernhardt were put on a three month curfew between 9pm and 6am.
Lynette Woodrow, from the CPS, said: 'This is the first prosecution of its kind against an unregistered school in England and Wales.
'The centre claimed it simply provided tuition to home-schooled children but using witness statements and photographic evidence collected by Ofsted inspectors, the CPS was able to prove this was not the case.
'It is a criminal offence to run an unregistered school and we will take steps to prosecute those responsible where there is the evidence to do so.' 

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Somali rapist, 29, whose deportation was halted by a mutiny of plane passengers has cost taxpayers £300,000 in legal and jail costs - and he still hasn't been kicked out of the UK

  • Somalian rapist Yaqub Ahmed, 29, was being kicked out of Britain for his crime 
  • Sympathetic holidaymakers intervened at Heathrow and halted his deportation
  • The Mail on Sunday estimates taxpayers have spent at least £300,000 on Ahmed – and that figure is rising as he is held in an Immigration Removal Centre
Yaqub Ahmed, then 19, was one of a gang of four men jailed for luring a teenage girl back to a Crouch End flat and gang raping her ten years ago [File photo]
Yaqub Ahmed, then 19, was one of a gang of four men jailed for luring a teenage girl back to a Crouch End flat and gang raping her ten years ago [File photo]
The Somali rapist whose deportation was halted by a mutiny of plane passengers demanding his release has cost taxpayers at least £300,000 in legal and jail costs.
Yaqub Ahmed, 29, was being kicked out of Britain for his sickening crime when sympathetic holidaymakers at Heathrow heard his protests and forced Home Office guards to take him off the jet. 
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal he has been involved in three separate criminal cases and three asylum tribunal hearings, all funded by Legal Aid, as well as spending at least five years in jail.
As a result, the MoS estimates taxpayers have spent at least £300,000 on Ahmed – and that figure is rising. He is still being held in an Immigration Removal Centre more than a fortnight after the failed deportation – at a cost of at least £1,500 – while officials try again to fly him out.
Ahmed was first granted indefinite leave to remain as a refugee in Britain after arriving from Somalia aged 14 in 2003.
Legal documents reveal that, in September 2007, he was sentenced to 21 days in a Young Offenders Institution for an assault on a police constable and fined for being drunk and disorderly. 
Court and detention costs are likely to have topped £4,000.
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Yaqub Ahmed, centre, during the confrontation on the Turkish Airlines flight at Heathrow last month. The Mail On Sunday estimates taxpayers have spent at least £300,000 on Ahmed ¿ and that figure is rising
Yaqub Ahmed, centre, during the confrontation on the Turkish Airlines flight at Heathrow last month. The Mail On Sunday estimates taxpayers have spent at least £300,000 on Ahmed – and that figure is rising
In August 2008, he was jailed for nine years for his role in the brutal gang-rape of a teenage girl. 
Ahmed and three friends – one later killed fighting for IS in Syria – preyed on the vulnerable 16-year-old on a night out in the West End and lured her back to a flat in North London where they assaulted her.
Despite overwhelming evidence, Ahmed denied rape and his trial is likely to have cost close to £20,000. His years spent behind bars would have cost at least £150,000.
In jail, Ahmed asked an accomplice to smuggle a mobile phone in for him and he was given a six-month concurrent sentence in July 2015, costing another £1,000 in court costs alone.
In all three cases, Ahmed received Legal Aid. The Ministry of Justice said it could not say how much his lawyers – including a barrister in the rape case – were paid but those in similar long-running cases earned at least £100,000.
The Home Office told Ahmed in May 2010 he was liable to be deported after his release because of the seriousness of his offence, and in February 2015, he was finally issued with a deportation order.
His solicitors – Paragon Law in Nottingham – appealed against the decision. At the First-Tier tribunal, a judge dismissed Ahmed’s challenge. 
Such hearings cost at least £1,000 excluding Legal Aid, say experts.
Ahmed’s lawyers then appealed, claiming Judge Colyer ‘conducted the hearing unfairly’ and that his reasoning was ‘confused and unclear’.
They particularly objected to the judge saying Ahmed was not a ‘credible witness’, that he had ‘significant doubts about the truthfulness’ of his story, and that Ahmed was ‘at risk of further reoffending’.
At another hearing before the Upper Tribunal in October 2016 – costing at least another £1,000 – judge Clive Lane ruled there had been an ‘error in law’ in the earlier hearing and ordered another case before the First-Tier Tribunal, which was due to be heard last December.
Yet before the hearing took place, Ahmed’s lawyers withdrew the case, for reasons unknown.
Ahmed was therefore put on a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul on October 9, in an enforced removal officially estimated to cost £15,000, before passengers intervened.
Last night the Home Office said it could not comment on Ahmed’s case.