A terror suspect who escaped surveillance by dressing in a burka had previously been twice remanded in custody for allegedly breaching controls imposed on him. Fugitive Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed was granted bail in April after spending four months remanded in custody, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
The 27-year-old, who was last seen fleeing a London mosque in women's clothing on Friday, was released despite facing 20 charges for breaking the restrictions of a terrorism prevention and investigation measure (Tpim) and an earlier control order. Mohamed was also remanded in custody in October 2011 before being released on bail in February 2012.
It is understood the CPS opposed the application for bail in April. Charges against Mohamed, who can be jailed if convicted, include attempting to access the internet without approval, possessing a digital storage device without permission and meeting a person without Home Office agreement.
A warrant was issued today by Mr Justice Nicol for Mohamed's arrest after he failed to attend the Old Bailey for proceedings concerning the alleged breaches. The judge lifted an anonymity order linked to the proceedings to allow naming of the suspect.
Mohamed's solicitor Gareth Peirce said she had "no reason for the defendant's non-appearance" and claimed her client was forcibly removed from Somalia to this country by British authorities and security services. Outside court, Ms Peirce said: "We have the most serious concerns in relation to a young man who was hideously tortured in Somalia for two months, was forcibly and illegally deported to this country and where the question has been repeatedly raised of the complicity of the British authorities and the security services in that unlawful removal."
Mohamed is understood to have received training and fought overseas for al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based cell of al Qaida that was behind the recent attack on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed at least 67. Mohamed, who shares links to a UK-based network with fellow absconder Ibrahim Magag, faces six charges concerning breaches of his Tpim, namely failing to report to Acton police station on six occasions in December last year.
He faces a further 14 counts relating to breaches between August and October 2011 of a control order, the predecessor to Tpims, which include failing to report to an Ipswich police station and possessing an unauthorised mobile phone. He is due to stand trial for the alleged breaches on April 28 next year.
Crown prosecutor Stuart Baker requested that the trial date remain fixed as the proceedings could continue in Mohamed's absence. Yesterday, fears were raised that Mohamed might have a second passport after confusion emerged over his British one. Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs on Monday that officers had seized his British passport, but then revealed this was wrong.
Mrs May initially told MP Keith Vaz in the Commons: "I do not have his passport, but the police do." She has asked for the parliamentary record to be corrected to say: "I do not have his passport. Mohamed was not in possession of his British passport when he returned to the UK so there was no passport for the police to seize."
Mohamed's British passport was cancelled before he returned to the UK, and he was placed on a "warnings index". It also emerged yesterday that he is trying to claim damages from the Government over allegations that the British authorities consented to - or acquiesced in - his detention and torture by the Somaliland authorities on January 14, 2011.
The High Court has since heard that the Government could seek to block the claim because of his disappearance.