Iraqi detainee Fawaz Qadum: ‘Too dangerous to return to Iraq’

Image copyright AFP Image caption Fawaz is a supporter of the Stop the War Coalition.

Iraqi man Fawaz Qadum is a security risk who cannot be sent back to the country he fled following his arrest for terror offences, a judge has ruled.

It will mean that Mr Qadum, 30, who is a supporter of the Stop the War Coalition, is to be detained in Britain while the Home Office appeals against this decision.

The government has argued it is too dangerous to send Mr Qadum back to Iraq.

It will be the third time in recent years that British taxpayers are paying to detain a convicted terrorist, at a cost of around £30,000 a year.

The Home Office had argued that Mr Qadum, from Telford, West Midlands, had become an “unwitting terrorist” after joining the outlawed Al-Qaeda-linked group Islamic State (IS) when he reached Europe in December 2014.

On three occasions he crossed the Syrian border, he was interviewed by two European intelligence agencies and was later turned back at a Turkish checkpoint on his fourth attempt.

Mr Qadum was due to be deported in April 2015, but the Home Office ruled that he “posed a security risk to the UK and our allies and was a threat to the public”.

He was refused permission to remain in the UK, but the court of appeal said his fitness to remain as a terrorist in the UK was a matter for the UK’s security agencies and “should not be decided by a domestic court”.

He was detained in May 2015 in connection with the IS investigation, but once released he was handed over to the police.

Last year he appealed against his deportation, which was refused again in August last year.

In April last year he was returned to prison on suspicion of breaching the Terrorism Act 2000, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

He was released in April, but was sent back to prison in May to await trial.

He is currently serving a short sentence for breaching his curfew and is due to be released at the end of January next year.

Mr Qadum’s lawyer Tony Coulson told Sky News on Thursday: “Theresa May has lost control of Britain. These people are let into our country despite being deemed security risks.”

Michael Basu, of the Migrants’ Rights Network, said the case highlighted that the number of people detained in prisons as security risks “spirals out of control”.

“The Home Office can finally decide on this individual and deport him on a truly proportionate basis,” he said.

“Despite deploying as many as 44 police in northern Iraq in the search for him, they couldn’t find him. It’s unbelievable. They couldn’t even bring him to a proper court, to a prison sentence hearing.”

Mr Basu said he believed “there is a good chance” Mr Qadum would return to Iraq after his release from prison, despite his conviction.

“He’s just a political refugee who was detained for 25 months based on flimsy evidence that is now withdrawn and the man who made that evidence is standing up for him now, but it’s not enough,” he said.

“He is a desperately vulnerable individual, who is a well-known opponent of the government and the state.”

* A previous version of this story referred to Fawaz Qadum as “Christine” Qadum. This has been corrected.

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