- The asylum seeker has been allowed to stay despite plotting attacks in the UK
- He created a list of nightclubs and airports that could possibly be targeted
- He was due return to Jordan but Amber Rudd changed her mind after claims he'd be tortured
- Instead, he must simply re-apply every six months to prolong his stay
An asylum seeker described as the ‘very model of a modern Al Qaeda terrorist’ has been allowed to stay in Britain despite being jailed for plotting attacks in this country.
The ‘sleeper agent’ jihadi – who The Mail on Sunday is banned from identifying – was about to be deported back to his native Jordan after his release from prison.
But Home Secretary Amber Rudd changed her mind after the man’s lawyers argued that he would be tortured.
The ‘sleeper agent’ jihadi – who The Mail on Sunday is banned from identifying – was about to be deported back to his native Jordan after his release from prison
The man was convicted of amassing terrorist materials, including bomb-making manuals, on his computer.
A jury heard that he created a list of targets such as nightclubs and airports, and was described by the trial judge as an ‘Al Qaeda sleeper agent’ waiting to launch an atrocity in the UK.
He was jailed for nine years at Manchester Crown Court but was released after only five years.
The Home Office then ordered that the terrorist be deported to Jordan. Earlier this year he appealed against his deportation at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a secret court that only hears cases involving foreign terrorists and others who pose a threat to national security.
But as the married father began his appeal, Mrs Rudd wrote to his lawyers, revealing she will no longer deport him.
Daniel Furner, a lawyer at Birnberg Peirce, who was acting for the man, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘The Home Secretary decided not to deport him to Jordan in July this year because she accepted he would face a serious risk of torture.’
The man has now been given ‘restricted leave to remain’, which means he has to apply every six months to have his stay extended.
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However, SIAC ruled he cannot have refugee status – which would allow him to stay in Britain for life – on the grounds that he is a convicted terrorist. SIAC imposed an anonymity order that prevents this newspaper from naming him and also identifying at least four aliases he has used to rent properties, open bank accounts, and even get a job. We cannot even reveal the codename he was given to anonymise him during the deportation case.
The SIAC judgment, made public last week, said the man had used so many aliases that his real identify was still uncertain. Robin Tam QC, representing the Home Office, told the hearing that the terrorist’s connections with other jihadis and his use of aliases made him ‘in many ways, the very model of a modern Al Qaeda terrorist’ – echoing the Major-General’s song in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates Of Penzance. The judgment said the man entered Britain in 2002 from Rotterdam, where he was sharing a flat with four other jihadis.
After he entered Britain with his wife in 2002, he gave immigration officials a false name and said he was from Iraq, producing a forged Iraqi birth certificate. He and his wife were allowed to stay in the UK and were placed in accommodation in the North of England.
He claimed up to £100,000 in benefits using his genuine passport, which he kept hidden from immigration officials. He also opened several bank accounts under different names and worked in higher education.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd changed her mind after the man’s lawyers argued that he would be tortured
But in 2006, anti-terrorist police raided two properties that he and his family lived in, seizing two computers belonging to him that contained a vast library of terrorist material, including manuals to make car bombs. He had also been in contact with an Al Qaeda cell in Britain linked to Dhiren Barot, who was convicted of plotting to detonate a ‘dirty’ bomb – containing radioactive material – on the London Underground in 2007.
At the trial of the anonymous terrorist, the judge said: ‘Doubts remain as to who you really are and where you really come from. The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn… is that you were a sleeper for some sort of terrorist organisation.’
Last night, lawyers acting for the man refused to answer questions as to whether he is from Jordan. A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We don’t comment on individual cases.’