Prisoner who was in touch with Arena bomber to be released this week
Written by Rother Radio News on 26/11/2020
A convicted terrorist facilitator who was in touch with the Manchester Arena bomber in the months before the attack is about to be released from prison.
Official sources have confirmed to Sky News that Abdalraouf Abdallah, 27, will be freed this week.
Abdallah was jailed in 2016 after being found guilty of helping people travel to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State group.
The official inquiry into the Manchester bombing was told how he refused to engage with the inquiry’s lawyers, who visited him in prison in an effort to persuade him to cooperate with the proceedings.
In September, the inquiry was told that the Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi had visited Abdallah in prison twice and the pair were in regular telephone contact around the time Abedi was preparing to source the components for his backpack bomb.
Counsel to the inquiry, Paul Greaney QC said: “We have no doubt he is a witness with important evidence to give. We hope on reflection, he will cooperate, so we will press him to give evidence before the inquiry.”
Abdallah is not the only person to refuse to cooperate with the inquiry. The bomber’s family have also declined to take part in any of the proceedings.
Abdallah is paralysed from the waist down, having been badly injured while fighting for a rebel group trying overthrow the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
But back in the UK in the years that followed, he was still considered a dangerous radicaliser, who provided money and help to facilitate travel to Syria for those intending to join up with ISIS.
Abdallah will be released from prison under strict supervision, including the wearing of an electronic tag and severe restrictions on his access to electronic devices, including mobile phones and computers.
He will also face restrictions on travel and will not be allowed to have contact with certain individuals.
Those restrictions follow serious public concerns about the supervision of a growing number of convicted terrorists, who are now being released from prison.
It follows two terrorist attacks in London, where the extremists involved had only recently been released from prison and were still on licence.
In November 2019, Usman Khan stabbed two people to death at a prisoner rehabilitation conference on London Bridge.
Khan had only been released from prison a year before, and was one of the invited guests at the conference when he fatally stabbed Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, who had been working for Cambridge University’s Learning Together prisoner rehabilitation programme.
Just three months later, former terrorist prisoner Sudesh Amman was shot dead by police after he launched a knife attack in Streatham, south London, just weeks after he was released from jail.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Terrorists released on licence are supervised by the Probation Service, with the support of police and the security services, and subject to strict conditions.
“If they break those conditions they can be brought back to prison.”
Abdallah will be placed in specialist probation service accommodation, away from the Manchester area, and he will be banned from going anywhere near Manchester city centre.
© Sky News 2020