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‘Charlie Hebdo terror mentor’ may return to family in Britain on release

The alleged mentor of one of the Charlie Hebdo terrorists is set to be released from jail amid questions over whether he will be allowed back into Britain.

The Al-Qaeda terrorist mastermind, jailed in France for terrorism offences in 2005, is about to be released from prison and may seek to return to his family in Britain.

The British government banned Beghal from entering the UK in 2009, but his family have been fighting to clear his name through the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. The Telegraph understands the ban remains in place and Beghal will be stopped from entering the UK after his release if the Home Office decision is not overturned. 

Djamel Beghal, 52, is reaching the end of his combined sentences for a series of crimes, including planning to blow up the American Embassy in Paris. His wife, Sylvie, a French citizen, and their four children live in Leicester, where Beghal became radicalised in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Whilst in prison, Beghal is considered to have mentored Cherif Kouachi, who carried out the murderous attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine with his brother, Said Kouachi, in January 2015. He also has links with Amedy Kouachi, the Islamic State terrorist who shot dead four Jewish shoppers at a Kosher supermarket just after the Hebdo atrocity.

A man visits an exhibition on June 6th 2018 in Paris’ city hall of children’s drawings sent to the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine,  following the terrorist attack of January 2015. 

Credit:
FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP

France wants to deport Beghal on August 5, the day when he comes out of Vezin prison, in Rennes. His lawyers insist his life would be in danger if he returns to Algeria.

‘This sets up the prospect of a legal challenge to the British decision to ban him,’ said a source close to the case. ‘Beghal will be a released prisoner and reformed character who has every right to begin a new life with his loved ones in any country he chooses.’

Born in Algeria, Beghal settled in France in 1987 and married Sylvie in 1990. Seven years later, he moved his family to Leicester. While in the UK, Beghal made at least one trip to Afghanistan to receive orders from the late Al-Qaeda chief, Osama Bin Laden. British and French intelligence operatives saw Beghal as one of Al-Qaeda’s leading recruiters in Europe.

In 2000 the family moved  to Jalalabad in Afghanistan. After his arrest at Dubai airport in 2001 for carrying a false passport, Beghal was discovered to have organised an Al-Qaeda cell during his time in the Midlands. Investigators found he had quietly built up a network of supporters among foreign émigrés, who used the Indian and Pakistani communities as cover.

Nazir Okhai, a spokesman for the Memon Association, a Muslim community group based in Leicester, told the Telegraph Beghal’s views are no longer tolerated in the city. “Our mosques teach that we should not judge from one side of an argument only; you can only clap with two hands.”

If he has not changed his opinions, the muslim society would be apprehensive, Mr Okhai said. “Once bitten, twice shy.”

Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/01/charlie-hebdo-terror-mentor-may-return-family-britain-release/

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