A 17-year-old boy was today arrested for allegedly helping a terror suspect who has gone on the run after dressing in a burka to escape police surveillance.
Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, who was subject to “Tpim” counter-terrorism restrictions because of his links to the Somali terror group al-Shabaab, disappeared in November last year after going into a mosque in Acton and changing into women’s clothes.
He has not been seen since and remains at large despite intensive efforts by police and MI5 to locate him.
Today, however, Scotland Yard announced the arrest of a teenager for allegedly helping Mohamed to carry out his escape.
The 17-year-old, who was detained early this morning in Acton, is alleged to have conspired “to breach measures in a notice issued under the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011.”
A Scotland Yard statement added the arrest was “in connection with the abscond of Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed in November 2013” and that the teenager had been taken to a south London police station where he remains in custody.
Mohamed was under a ten hour curfew that required him to stay at home overnight as part of his Tpim. He was also required to report regularly to police and allowed to have one mobile, computer and landline among other restrictions.
It emerged after his disappearance, however, that he had been allowed to remain on the streets despite being remanded in custody three times for suspected breaches of his Tpim. He was most recently granted bail in August last year, three months before he vanished, following allegations that he had tampered with his electronic monitoring tag.
His disappearance followed the earlier escape of Ibrahim Magag, who was also under a Tpim, and has led to claims by Labour and other critics that the legislation contains inadequate powers to protect the public properly.
Home Secretary Theresa May has insisted that Mohamed, who was alleged to be planning an attack on Western interests in Somaliland when he was detained overseas, does not pose a direct threat in this country.
The government’s counter-terrorism watchdog, David Anderson QC, recommended recently, however, that the system should be strengthened and that ministers should consider reintroducing previous powers which allowed terror suspects to be barred from living in the capital.
The Tpim system was introduced in January 2012 to replace the use of control orders and impose weaker curbs than previously existed to achieve what the government claims is a better balance between civil liberties and security.
Ten people – including Mohamed and Magag – were subject to the restrictions at the start of the year, but all the orders have now expired because of a two year time limit or been revoked.
Author: Liban Farah
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