Member of banned Islamist group jailed for breaching terror prevention order

A terror suspect who cut off his electronic tag before taking a taxi to London has been jailed for more than three years.

The man, who can only be identified as LF, is a senior leader of the banned extremist group Al-Muhajiroun (ALM).

He was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Monday after pleading guilty last week to six counts of breaching a Tpim (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures) order.

Tpim notices allow the authorities to monitor suspected terrorists who are not subject to criminal charges.

LF was first made subject to a two-year Tpim in October 2016 and was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, in May 2019 after he was convicted of breaching the conditions.

Home Secretary Priti Patel imposed a second Tpim in November 2019 because he had continued to engage in terrorism-related activity, including acting for the benefit of ALM, possessing Islamist extremist material and encouraging terrorism.

“LF met with other ALM members in London and elsewhere,” said prosecutor Kate Wilkinson. “LF twice hosted ALM meetings in his own home.”

The court heard that LF obtained an unauthorised “burner” mobile phone and £90 in cash to pay for a taxi to London in the early hours of September 15 last year after removing his electronic tag.

When police forced entry to his flat, it smelled strongly of smoke and it appeared that items, including paper, had been burnt.

LF was arrested on the morning of September 16 outside a supermarket in south-east London after calling his solicitors, who told police where to find him.

The court heard that checks at UK ports to make sure he did not flee the country caused nine-hour tailbacks for travellers.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC jailed LF for three years and two months, including concurrent sentences of two years and four months for the Tpim breaches and a 10-month prison term for breaching his suspended sentence.

“The Secretary of State was right to decide you were a senior leader in ALM, having a leading role in communications, including encouraging others to travel to Islamic State-controlled territory, and logistics,” he said.

“You are not suspected of personally carrying out terrorist attacks in this country.”

The judge said LF’s fear of his suspended sentence being activated after a probation officer upgraded his risk from “serious” to “very serious” had acted as the “catalyst” to him absconding.

“Fortunately, you came to your senses and probably your best mitigation is that you arranged to give yourself up on September 16,” he told LF, who was appearing by video-link from Frankland Prison in Durham.

Catherine Oborne, defending, said an assessment by the Home Secretary found the breach did not pose a risk to national security.

“The intention was not to engage in terrorist activity or criminal activity,” she said.

“He recognises what he did was a mistake and that he intends to have a better attitude to the order going forward.”

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Categories: Al-Muhajiroun, News, terrorism, TPIM

Raab calls for UN to respond to ‘appalling’ human rights violations in China

The Foreign Secretary has placed diplomatic pressure on the United Nations to respond to China’s “appalling treatment” of the Uighur Muslims and people in Hong Kong.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council on Monday, Dominic Raab said “no-one can ignore the evidence any more” of a deteriorating human rights situation in China and called for international action.

It comes amid heightened tensions between Britain and China after Beijing banned BBC World News in retaliation after broadcast regulator Ofcom stripped state TV channel China Global Television Network of its UK broadcasting licence.

The UK last year also banned technology giant Huawei from being used in the country’s 5G communications network out of fears it could be used by the Chinese government to spy on Britain.

In his online speech, Mr Raab said people’s rights in Hong Kong are being “systematically violated” and that the national security law is a “clear breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration” that is having a “chilling effect on personal freedoms”.

“Free and fair legislative elections must take place, with a range of opposition voices allowed to take part,” he urged.

The Cabinet minister criticised the continued restricted access to Tibet before turning his attention to the “systematic” human rights violations in Xinjiang.

He told council members the treatment of Uighur Muslims and other minorities in the region was “beyond the pale”.

The tone of Mr Raab’s speech was in stark contrast to remarks allegedly made by the Prime Minister earlier this month.

Boris Johnson, according to The Guardian, is said to have told a Downing Street roundtable with Chinese businesses that he was “fervently Sinophile” and determined to improve ties “whatever the occasional political difficulties”.

But Number 10 looked to stamp out talk of a rift between the Conservative Party leader and the Foreign Secretary on Chinese relations, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman telling reporters Mr Johnson had been “outspoken in his condemnation” of human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

During his UN speech, the Foreign Secretary said: “We see almost daily reports now that shine a new light on China’s systematic human rights violations perpetrated against Uighur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang.

“The situation in Xinjiang is beyond the pale.

“The reported abuses – which include torture, forced labour and forced sterilisation of women – are extreme and they are extensive. They are taking place on an industrial scale.”

Mr Raab used his eight-minute address to call for a UN motion to be passed to allow investigators into Xinjiang.

He said the Government had already taken action domestically by putting in place measures that ensure no company profiting from forced labour in Xinjiang can do business in the UK.

“It must be our collective duty to ensure this does not go unanswered – UN mechanisms must respond,” he continued.

“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, or another independent fact-finding expert, must – and I repeat, must – be given urgent and unfettered access to Xinjiang.

“If members of this Human Rights Council are to live up to our responsibilities, there must be a resolution which secures this access.”

China has defended the presence of “re-education” camps in Xinjiang, saying they aim only to promote economic and social development in the region and to stamp out radicalism.

Mr Raab also voiced concerns about the military coup in Myanmar and the treatment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Russia.

Read More: Foreign Secretary Urges To Let Human Rights Commissioner Visit Xinjiang

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Categories: Dominic Raab, human rights, News, Uighur Muslims, United Nations