Theresa May faces questions over how ‘IS video Briton’ fled UK

Published: Wednesday 6th January 2016 by The News Editor

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Theresa May is facing mounting questions over her response to the disappearance of a suspected terrorist sympathiser who slipped out of the country to become an Isis poster boy.

Abu Rumaysah, a British jihadi thought to have executed an IS prisoner on film, mocked British security and border agencies and labelled them “shoddy” after he fled the country while on bail in September 2014.

Despite being under investigation at the time for supporting banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun, the former bouncy castle salesman from London was able to travel to Paris the day after he was released from custody.

Police then wrote to him a month later asking why he had not surrendered his passport and travel documents.

Rumaysah, who changed his name from Siddartha Dahr after converting from Hinduism to Islam, is thought to be the masked figure who taunted David Cameron and threatened to attack the West in the latest Isis propaganda video.

Yesterday Mrs May was urged to explain her responses to the high-profile suspect’s apparent escape.

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham wrote to Mrs May accusing her of “repeatedly” failing to answer his questions in the Commons and calling on her to outline what measures had been taken to prevent a repeat of the lapse.

He wrote: “This is a high-profile individual who was well-known to the authorities, whose disappearance raise serious questions about the robustness of the system.”

Mr Burnham called on the Home Secretary to detail when and how she was informed about Rumaysah’s escape, how she reacted and if he was placed on the relevant watch-lists.

He also questioned if current measures for suspects on bail for terror offences are adequate and suggested passports were seized while the person was in custody, rather voluntarily on release.

Finally he rejected the Home Secretary’s claim that figures were not available for cases where terror suspects have absconded.

After his arrival in Syria, Rumaysah posted a picture of himself on social media, holding his baby son in one hand and an AK-47 assault rifle in the other.

Taunting authorities, he wrote on Twitter: “What a shoddy security system Britain must have to allow me to breeze through Europe to (IS).”

Mrs May said the Government would not comment on the alleged identities of the man or a young boy – also reported to be British – in a 10-minute film posted online last week.

However Mr Burnham wrote: “The circumstances around the disappearance of Mr Dahr date back to 2014 and present separate issues of the utmost seriousness.

“People will be shocked that a man detained on a series of counts of terrorism-related activity could be allowed to walk out of the country, unimpeded, only a few days later.

“The individual concerned received a letter from the Police over a month after he disappeared urging him to get in touch. This does not appear to be a sufficiently stringent regime for someone facing these charges.

“The public have a reasonable right to expect a full explanation from the Home Secretary and reassurance that steps have been taken to prevent a repeat.”

In an earlier statement Mrs May said bail decisions and conditions were an “operational matter” for police.

Since April last year exit checks have been in place on air, sea and rail services while 24 passports were removed from people intending to travel for terrorism-related activity in 2014, she explained.

New powers to temporarily seize the passports of those intending to leave the UK in connection with terrorism-related activity have been used on more than 20 occasions.

Published: Wednesday 6th January 2016 by The News Editor

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