Liverpool bomb attack: lawyers demand apology from UK home secretary

Priti Patel stoking anger against those in legal profession, lawyers claim

Polcie outside Emad Al Swealmeen's rented home in Liverpool. AFP

Lawyers have accused British Home Secretary Priti Patel of stoking anger against legal representatives after an attempted bombing in Liverpool by an asylum seeker.

They want Ms Patel to apologise after saying the bomber took advantage of the UK’s “merry-go-round” asylum system which was also “exploited by a whole professional legal services industry”.

It also appears the attacker, Emad Al Swealmeen, 32, may not have been legally represented during his court hearings.

Al Swealmeen carried out the attack at Liverpool Women’s Hospital on Remembrance Sunday. No one was killed.

Ms Patel, who has been trying to tighten the UK’s asylum laws and crack down on migrant arrivals along England’s southern coast, lambasted the legal system following the attack.

“We urge the home secretary to withdraw her comments,” said the president of the Law Society of England and Wales, I Stephanie Boyce.

Human rights lawyer Adam Wagner said: “She should withdraw her comments and apologise to the legal profession who she has targeted in this very sad and horrifying incident which had nothing to do with lawyers.”

Mr Wagner said he worried that such comments put lawyers in danger and claimed that after Ms Patel's words, he received threats on social media.

Court records for some of Al Swealmeen’s cases indicate he was not legally represented when he appealed against the rejection of his asylum claim.

He appealed to the First-tier Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber — the court that reviews Home Office decisions — in 2014 but was turned down.

In 2015, he applied for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, a national court that deals with appeals, but that was refused.

Officials said in January this year, Al Swealmeen launched another First-tier Tribunal appeal, which was still outstanding at the time of Sunday's attack.

Records show that he represented himself as his cases progressed

Aides to the home secretary said she stood by her comments but would not respond further, and that the Home Office would not be providing any more information on the case.

Al Swealmeen, of Syrian and Iraqi heritage, arrived in Britain as an asylum seeker several years ago and worked as a pizza chef.

Taxi driver David Perry was injured as he leapt from the vehicle shortly before it exploded.

Updated: November 19, 2021, 11:03 PM