An accused terrorist was re-arrested for repeatedly getting too close to London’s Olympic Park thanks to a GPS monitoring device that British authorities have used in special cases to track terror suspects who may pose a risk but cannot be prosecuted, local authorities said Sunday.
The suspect, a 24-year-old identified in court documents only as CF, appeared in court in late June for allegedly taking public transportation that traveled near the Olympic Park on the way to his attorney’s office – a violation of government-mandated travel restrictions.
According to Britain’s Sunday Telegraph, which first reported the new arrest, CF was accused years ago of attempting to travel to Afghanistan for terrorist training and to take part in suicide missions in 2008. The charges against him were dropped in 2009, but only after he fled the country for Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia. He was arrested again in Somaliland and deported to Britain in January 2011 where he faced charges prompted by his attempted escape from Britain. He was granted bail in May 2011 and became one of the country’s first participants in the new Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) program.
The program allows the British government, with the permission of a high court, to impose a range of restrictions on anyone who “the Secretary of State reasonably believes… is or has been involved in terrorism-related activity” or people for whom a TPIM could conceivably help protect the public from terrorism, according to the British Home Office. The measures can include, among other things, strict travel restrictions within Britain and mandated electronic tracking devices.
The system, the Home Office said, is meant to protect Britons “from individuals who pose a real terrorist threat, but whom we cannot prosecute or, in the case of foreign nationals, deport.”
CF is only one of nine people who have been selected for TPIM, according to the BBC.
“Notwithstanding that… CF [has] now been subject to controls for longer than a year, it cannot be said that [he] has renounced his commitment to terrorism, nor has the passage of time significantly diminished the risk [he] presents,” the Telegraph quoted Home Office official James Eadie as saying in court documents. “As CF has previously re-engaged in Islamist extremist activity, despite being on bail, previous disruptive action has not been enough to dissuade him from his involvement in Islamist extremism.”
Attorneys for CF said that the Olympic Park violations were innocent incidents based on “erroneous advice” given to CF about whether the journeys constituted a TPIM violation. CF is scheduled to appear July 26 for a bail hearing.
ABC News’ Lee Ferran contributed to this report.