Extremist preacher Abdullah Al Faisal extradited to US on terror charges
Evidence suggests the Jamaican was in contact with London 7/7 attacker and 'Underwear Bomber' before being linked to ISIS
An extremist preacher who inspired attacks in London and New York has been extradited to the US on terrorism charges.
American law enforcement officers took Abdullah Al Faisal from Jamaica to the US where he appeared in a Manhattan court and pleaded not guilty to five charges, including conspiracy and supporting terrorism.
Al Faisal, born Trevor William Forest, has been accused of using his network of sympathisers and public profile to recruit fighters to ISIS.
Evidence obtained by US investigators suggested he was in contact with one of the bombers from the “7/7” suicide attacks on the London Underground in 2005.
He was also linked to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “Underwear Bomber" who tried to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight in 2009, and Faisal Shazad, who tried to bomb New York’s Times Square in 2010.
Al Faisal was shown to be in contact with Khuram Butt, one of the London Bridge stabbing and vehicle attackers, prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said.
He was sentenced in Britain to nine years in jail in 2003 after he was convicted of three counts of soliciting the murder of Jews, Americans, Hindus and Christians, and two counts of using threatening words to stir up racial hatred.
He was deported from Britain back to Jamaica in 2007 having served four years of his prison term.
But a decade later, Al Faisal was arrested by Jamaican police after a New York Police Department Intelligence Bureau investigation.
He allegedly spread ISIS propaganda using encrypted emails and gave an undercover police officer information on getting into Syria to fight for ISIS.
This included contact details for a person based in Raqqa, Syria, who would help take the undercover officer into territory held by ISIS.
In an online speech in 2016, Mr Al Faisal said: “The way forward is not the ballot. The way forward is the bullet.”
The investigation into the cleric began the same year, New York police said.
US prosecutors claimed their lawful access to his email accounts showed communications with high-ranking ISIS leaders and fighters.
“The indictment and arrest of Mr Al Faisal nearly three years ago put a stop to the prolific, radical Islamic propaganda and terror recruitment alleged in this case, delivering a major blow to ISIS’s overall recruitment capabilities,” Cyrus Vance Jr, Manhattan District Attorney, said on Friday.
The lawyer previously described Al Faisal as the “fulcrum of a recruitment effort that encouraged individuals to carry out acts of terrorism" in the name of ISIS.
Commissioner Dermot Shea, of the NYPD, said: “Faisal has spent two decades inspiring the terrorists behind plots and attacks in London, New York and onboard airplanes in flight.”
Al Faisal was arrested by Jamaican police in 2017 and was in custody since, fighting his extradition until the Court of Appeal upheld his transfer to the US this year.
The extremist will be held in custody in New York until his trial. If convicted he faces a 25-year jail sentence.
Updated: August 18, 2020 08:28 AM