December 15, 2008
Intelligence expert calls for Scotland Yard to drop wanted terrorism adviser
Mohamed Ali HarrathRichard Kerbaj, Dominic Kennedy
The former intelligence chief Baroness Neville-Jones today urged Scotland Yard to drop one of its anti-terror advisers, Mohamed Ali Harrath, after The Times discovered that he is wanted by Interpol because of his links to an alleged terror organisation in his home country.
The Conservative Shadow Security Minister also demanded answers from the Yard and the Home Office about how the Tunisian national was allowed into Britain and given a position of trust while being the subject of Interpol's Red Notice - the highest level of alert.
"Unless and until the Interpol Red Notice is removed it seems quite wrong that Mohamed Ali Harrath should be employed as an adviser," she told The Times.
Mr Harrath has been wanted by Interpol since 1992. He entered the UK in 1995 and was granted political asylum in 2000.
Baroness Neville-Jones said: "The Government must answer some very serious questions about its border control and vetting systems. Both the Home Office and Metropolitan Police have access to Interpol's information. Did the Home Office access this information before allowing Mohamed Ali Harrath to enter, and did the Metropolitan Police check it before allowing him to work for them? If not, why not? If they did access Interpol's data, how could the Home Office let in and the Met employ an individual with a Red Notice for alleged links to a suspected terrorist organisation?"
An investigation by The Times today revealed that Mr Harrath has been advising Scotland Yard's Muslim Contact Unit about combating extremism and terrorism. Mr Harrath insists the Tunisian Government - which has sentenced him to 56 years in absentia for alleged terrorism and other criminal offences - tortured and persecuted him for founding a non-violent opposition movement to what he regards as a one-party state. Mr Harrath insists that he has never supported or been involved in terrorism or linked to any terrorist organisations.
Bechir Tekkari, the Tunisian Justice and Human Rights Minister, said he was frustrated that Britain has refused to extradite Mr Harrath.
Baroness Neville-Jones, former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, said the Foreign Office also had a case to answer.
"The FCO must be aware that the Tunisian Government, an ally in the fight against terrorism, have asked for the extradition of this man," she said. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article5348068.ece