Second man suspected of being "committed and well connected" fanatic also released from terrorism prevention and investigation measures
A suspected Islamist fanatic trained by the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab and an alleged recruiter of jihadists has been freed of all controls on his activities.
The man, known only as CF, is also an associate of Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed who fled his terror controls last year and disappeared.
A second suspect who MI5 warned is a “long-term, committed and historically well-connected extremist” has also been released from all restrictions on his movements.
The men are among seven alleged fanatics who have been subject to terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims), which replaced controls orders and were designed to restrict their activities.
A two – year time limit on the orders of each of them will have expired by Sunday and the Government is powerless to stop the restrictions being lifted.
It means they will be free to go wherever and meet whoever they wish but anonymity orders prevent the public from knowing who any of the men are.
CF is a British citizen of Somali descent who, in 2009, absconded from court bail and travelled to Somalia for alleged terror training, court papers show. He is said to have been trained by Al-Shabaab and fought alongside them over the next two years as well as providing advice on travelling to Somalia to others and attempting to recruit fighters in the UK. Al-Shabaab is the al Qaeda-linked terror group that was behind the Westgate shopping centre atrocity in Kenya last year that left up to 70 innocent people, including six Britons, dead.
The missing British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite, dubbed the “white widow”, has also been linked to the group. CF was captured in 2011, returned to the UK and placed under a control order, which was replaced with a Tpim the following year. Atone stage, he was deemed such a risk that he was even banned from having an iPod amid fears he could store messages from extremists on it.
During a review of his controls in the High Court last year, the Security Service said there remained a high risk of him absconding and that the extremist network he was allegedly part of could help him disappear. The controls were kept in place even though the court was also told that CF has started a university course and it was hoped restrictions would not frustrate his studies. Another Tpim suspect, known as BF, is also now free of his controls despite concerns he continues to pose a threat to UK national security.
The High Court was told last summer that BF was a “long-term, committed and historically well-connected extremist and his close associates continue to be involved in ongoing extremist activities”.
There are also concerns that he will be encouraged to continue his alleged terror-related activities by his second wife, known only as V, who is said to hold extremist views herself. BF is alleged to have travelled to Pakistan in 2008 for terrorism purposes and had planned to go there again the following year when he left a “farewell letter” for his family saying: “I will always remember you and my babies”.
The concern is once he is free of restrictions he may now try to travel to Syria where he could connect with al-Qaeda, the court papers show. “It that event, such a person would constitute a significant threat to the United Kingdom national security and be able to engage in terrorist training and fighting,” the court was told. A Home Office spokesman said: “TPIMs were introduced because Control Orders were not working and their powers were being struck down by the courts. “They now provide some of the strongest possible protections that the courts will allow and the police and Security Service believe they have been effective in reducing the national security risk posed by a number of individuals. “But TPIMs are just one weapon in the considerable armoury at the disposal of the police and Security Service to disrupt terrorist activity.”