Robin Simcox: Control order detainee - and darling of the Left - proves he was a terrorist all along
Mahmoud Abu Rideh is a former control order detainee who was allowed to leave the UK last year. He has long been a cause célèbre for those trying to prove how unpleasant the British government is, and how evil we must be as a nation to use control orders.
The Guardian devoted a puff piece to him, and published letters written in his defence. The Independent allowed Rideh's wife to write a whole article about what a stand up guy he was. Cageprisoners, run by former Guantanamo Bay inmate Moazzam Begg, devoted a piece to Rideh and urged their readers to 'take action' in his defence. According to Helping Households Under Great Stress (HHUGS), run by Begg's wife, Lord Nazir Ahmed escorted Rideh around the Houses of Parliament. Amnesty International ran an entire campaign between 2005-2009, titled 'Lift the control order on Mahmoud Abu Rideh immediately'.
The entire time, Rideh was portrayed as an innocent man driven hopelessly insane by his control order; he was forced to use a wheelchair; he was suffering from depression; he was suicidal. Amnesty's director, Kate Allen, said that 'all Mahmoud Abu Rideh wants to do is escape the hell that the UK government has put him through for the last eight years'.
Well, apparently not. It turns out what Rideh actually wanted to do was join up with his al-Qaeda pals and fight jihad. Al-Qaeda web forums are reporting that Rideh was recently 'martyred', along with several other terrorists, in Afghanistan. He obviously managed to summon up the strength to pull himself out of his wheelchair and get himself on the battlefield.
That Rideh would end up being killed fighting jihad is not that great a surprise to those familiar with his case. Having entered the UK seeking asylum, he immediately set about spending his time here constructively, disseminating literature for a terrorist group. He was assessed by the Security Service to be in contact with senior members of al-Qaeda and was even referred to in correspondence between al-Qaeda's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Musab al-Zarqawi, the now deceased head of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Furthermore, despite being on state benefits of £11,000 a year, his bank account received payments of almost £150,000, which quickly found its way to Afghanistan. The Security Service assessed this as being for terrorist purposes. Understandably not wanting Rideh to do any more damage, the government placed him under a control order.
All of this information was easily accessible at the time, and still is. Presumably the Guardian, Amnesty International, Moazzam Begg, Lord Ahmed et al accidentally overlooked it. Still, I look forward to them correcting their stance now.