Islamist Terrorism: Foreign National Offenders and UK Deportations

Dr Rakib Ehsan

The UK’s persistent inability to extradite foreign criminals does not just risk further violent crime, according to this new report, rather the failure has extended to those whose presence jeopardise national security.  No fewer than 45 foreign-national terrorists have remained in the UK despite their convictions for terrorist offences.

The report charts the evolution of the problem of terrorism deportations over the last 20 years.  In particular it focusses on the nature, character, and history of the 45 terrorist offenders who have managed to remain in the UK.

The report finds that 15% of offenders had a criminal history prior to committing a terrorist offence.  Meanwhile, 18 of the 45 individuals had ties to proscribed organisations, including Al-Muhajiroun, Islamic State, Al Qaeda and Al-Shabaab.

The author also explores the political and legal obstacles to deporting these offenders. Before going on to recommend:

  • Redefining more tightly “inhuman” and “degrading” treatment in the Human Rights Act (1998).
  • Tying aid grants to developing nations to building justice facilities compatible with deportations from the UK.
  • Making deportation automatic for any foreign-national offenders convicted of a racially or religiously motivated offence.
  • The creation of an “Asylum Review Taskforce”.





“The failure to deport foreign convicted terrorists poses a fundamental threat to British national security. Many will be quite rightly appalled by the fact that non-British Islamists with links to proscribed organisations such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, have been allowed to remain in the UK after serving a terror-related prison sentence.

In the post-Brexit world, the UK must introduce a tougher border security arrangement by statute. For too long, the individual interests of foreign convicted terrorists have been prioritised over collective public safety.”

Dr Rakib Ehsan, Research Fellow


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