Ibrahim SharifWritten by CP Editor Thursday, 24 March 2011
In 2008 Ibrahim Sharif, a British Citizen, was in Kenya. He had been in Kenya 2005 and 2006 without incident. However on Friday 8th August 2008, after being picked up off the street, he was detained in Mombasa.
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed
One week before Ibrahim’s detention there was a raid carried out in his home town of Malindi by two hundred security and military personnel. Three to four houses in a row on the same street that he had lived on, including his mother’s house, were targeted. The Kenyan security personnel were looking for an individual named Fazul Abdullah Mohammed in one house they believed he was living in. Not finding him there they decided to raid the houses neighbouring the house they had already raided.
Ibrahim was not in Kenya at the time but Tanzania when the raids were carried out. He heard about them from the news, his name mentioned in the media, and decided that he will return as he is innocent and had nothing to hide. He travelled to Mombasa that night, arriving around 21:00-22:00, and in the morning his mother also arrived, coming from her raided house in Malindi. It was there on the 8th August 2008 that he was detained, off the streets of Mombasa.
He was held incommunicado, his family having no idea where he was or what has happened to him. During this time the Kenyan security services returned to Malindi with him and ripped his house apart. He was interrogated for two days at night from 00:00-06:00 on both Saturday and Sunday 10th August 2008 on Mombasa Island.
He was taken to Nairobi in handcuffs and a blind fold Saturday morning at 14:30 and on Sunday 10th August 2008 new security personnel came for extra interrogations. An Englishman from the embassy accompanied them and asked for his British passport. Ibrahim did not have it with him. The Englishman got Ibrahim to sign a travel document so that he can be deported. It took around 2-3 minutes and was well prepared even though it was a Sunday. Ibrahim was then officially deported from Kenya.
Schedule 7: the first time
Ibrahim arrived in the UK Monday 11th August 2008 and was also detained by Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) police officers at the airport as he arrived. He was taken to the local police station at Heathrow airport and interrogated for hours on end under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT 2000). He was asked many and varied questions and his finger prints were documented. He was then released.
MI5: first appearance
The MI5 then approached him with a picture from a newspaper photocopy of an individual they were interested in and thought Ibrahim knew the whereabouts of. They gave Ibrahim the impression they thought he knew this person on a personal basis. The picture was of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Kenya’s most wanted. The person that approached Ibrahim and said they were an MI5 agent stated that the USA and the MI5 themselves are very interested in Fazul Abdullah Mohammed.
MI5: the offer
The MI5 made an offer to Ibrahim, stating it was solely for him, whatever he wished they would facilitate it. He told them of his younger brother who suffers from autism and whom Ibrahim has tried to help but tuition fees on a private basis amount to 50-100K a year. The MI5 said they could help in this regard. But Ibrahim stated he was not able to offer them anything in return as he had nothing they would value to give them.
MI5: the threat
The self proclaimed MI5 agent then resorted to threats by stating there is an on-going investigation in Kenya. In the first house raided and thought by Kenyan security services to be that of Fazul’s, they ‘found’ an asthma inhaler. The ‘MI5 agent’ then indicated to Ibrahim that the investigation would come down hard on Ibrahim (because Ibrahim is an asthmatic), but that he could ‘stop’ the investigation. Ibrahim replied that he is ready for the investigation’s findings and will face them in a court with his due process rights. The ‘MI5 agent’ then gave Ibrahim a phone number written on a piece of paper and a mobile phone with a SIM card as they saw he had none on his person. This all occurred in August 2008.
He returned to his residence in London and remained there from August to October 2008. He then left for Dubai and arrived at Dubai airport where he was kept for about 40 to 60 minutes, briefly questioned about general matters and then his passport was returned to him and he was told he could go. He stayed in Dubai for two months with his wife coming to stay with him as he could not now return to Kenya to see her.
Ibrahim then crossed the border into Oman and lived with a family he knows well through a strong family friendship. He had last seen them ten days before the incidents of Kenya that led to his deportation. He was received well for the second time.
MI5: false information to Omani authorities
The local intelligence of Oman started putting pressure on this family because of Ibrahim. Information from the UK, amounting to a whole file, was brought to the Omani authorities with many allegations against Ibrahim which made his stay of a month and a half uncomfortable. There would be strange cars and persons watching him. He decided to return to Dubai, the year now being 2009.
Schedule 7: a second time
Ibrahim left for South Africa for two weeks and then went on to Tanzania for a number of months. In May 2010 he returned to the UK flying from Johannesburg airport to Gatwick transiting via Doha, and arrived 1st May 2010.
Again his passport flagged up an alert at immigration and he was detained again under Schedule 7 of TACT 2000. His DNA, pictures, fingerprints and answers to the same questions in the first SO15 detention were taken down. The whole thing lasted around 4-5hrs.
MI5: post-Schedule 7 trick
The SO15 officers then tried to trick Ibrahim by starting some small talk and then introduce, “Some guys who want to talk to you.” This being the same MI5 agent ‘Matthew’ that made offers and threats the first time at Ibrahim, and a different partner ‘Phil’. It had been a year and eight months since they had last met.
MI5: second offer
Ibrahim by this time had been harassed for nearly two years and the MI5 offered to ‘resolve’ the issue. Ibrahim told them not to bother if the law states he is to be stopped like this, and reiterated that he had nothing to offer them. Ibrahim then suggested that Kenya has capable institutions which are being funded by British taxpayers’ money. All he can offer is to go back to Kenya with these agents and they ask the Kenya security services in court what they have done in 11 years. The MI5 stated that the asthma inhaler ‘investigation’ was dead. ‘Matthew’ left his number again and they parted.
Schedule 7: for the third time
Ibrahim returned to the streets of the UK and remained there from May 2010-February 2011. He then left on the 9th February 2011 20:30 for Johannesburg via Dubai. In the queue in the UK three men approached him and said they were part of the police. He was detained for the third time under Sch. 7 of the TACT 2000 and taken aside to an interrogation room by SO15. Ibrahim insisted that he speak to his lawyer before they begin their interrogation. Ibrahim’s lawyer stated that he should answer the questions but not express any views.
The same questions about members of his family’s identity, politics and his views of the wars the UK is engaged in were asked and his finger prints, DNA and pictures were taken for the third time.
SO15 had caused him to miss his flight and they would not pay the rebooking fee. It was also 23:00 when he was finally released, and so he went back to his residence. SO15 had kept his laptop and said they would return it within 7 days, and before he left again for Dubai it had arrived through DHL. On the 10th February 2010 he paid a penalty and rebooked arriving in Dubai and staying for one week with his final destination being Johannesburg, South Africa.
MI5: false information to South African authorities
At the Emirates ticket console an error message kept appearing when the airport staff member tried to retrieve his boarding pass. Their senior told him that South Africa’s immigration department said they should ‘offload Sharif.’ He was not allowed to fly to South Africa. He returned to Dubai and the next day went to the South African embassy. They communicated with South Africa proper for half an hour. The embassy said that he was not allowed to enter South Africa and that they could not tell him why. Ibrahim called a lawyer in South Africa who said this was done unofficially and that they cannot legally ban him from entry if he had not committed any offence in that country. He was unable to follow up the matter because of the cost.
In Dubai, Ibrahim booked a ticket to Tanzania so that he could meet with his wife. This was now the only way as he had been deported from Kenya. On Saturday the 26th February 2011 he left Dubai, but before he left a family in Tanzania known through a friend of his called. In Tanzania, Sadiq, a gentleman in his mid-fifties and a member of this family, met him at the airport. Ibrahim had filled in a ‘landing card’ before leaving the airport as to where he would be staying while in Tanzania. His wife arrived on Sunday and through to Thursday Ibrahim was in Tanzania without incident.
The family of Sadiq were contacted and told that Sadiq is being held by the police of Tanzania in Dar es Salaam, and that they were looking for Ibrahim. Thursday night Ibrahim stayed away and on Friday morning he told his wife to inform the British embassy, while he called Clara Gutteridge of Reprieve who had been informed since Dubai, the South Africa incident. He then contacted Sadiq’s family so that they can go and meet with the police in Dar es Salaam.
The family of Sadiq and Ibrahim went to the head of the police concerned, with Ibrahim stating, “I have nothing to hide.” Around 12:00-13:00 on the Friday they arrived but the police wanted to speak to Ibrahim alone and not with the family present. He insisted one of the family members remain but the police would not hear of it.
He was then taken by Tanzanian police in a car holding 5-6 men for a 1.5 hour drive out the city which worried him. He was taken to a house which had 20-25 men, all intelligence offices of Tanzania. His interrogation started 14:00-15:00 and lasted 3-4hrs. They wanted to know who he was, what his intentions were in Tanzania and what his connection was to the family of Sadiq. They already had his Kenyan deportation information to hand.
They then took Ibrahim to his hotel room and searched it. He thanked God his wife was not there. At around 20:00, the sky fully dark by now, he was taken by the officers to a police station and locked up as part of ‘procedure’ even though it was he who submitted himself in the first place.
He was detained in an underground cell, dark and isolated. He was not allowed to have anything with him. The condition of the cell was really bad: he had a rough concrete, cold, floor as a bed; he could only enter it with bare feet and the cell was infested with mosquitos, torture itself because of the fear of malaria and also a sleep depriver. This was done on purpose. It was Friday when he was left in the cell.
The Sadiq family remained firm with Ibrahim without fear to such an extent he today feels shy that they had done so much and supported him where most others would have abandoned him. They paid and pushed that he get some food, and at 01:00 one of them was able to bring him something to eat and give him some reassurance.
Tanzania: second interrogation
From Friday-Saturday the same intelligence personnel came at 10:00 for more intelligence. He was interrogated for more than 3-4hrs and asked about who he knows and they brought a good number of names to ask him, including persons in Kenya. The Tanzanian intelligence officers then told him that they are passing this information to their superiors to make the decision. He asked that he not be detained. He was returned to the underground mosquito infested cell. He languished there from Saturday-Monday. His mother arrived, travelling all the way to see her son in a despicable state and also paid for a lawyer to help his case.
Tanzania: strip searched
On Monday at 11:00 the head of the police came and told Ibrahim that two people want to see him: a lawyer and someone from the British embassy. Ibrahim confirmed he would see them. The head of police got angry, slammed the door and left very upset. At 23:00 twenty police officers came and he was stripped naked and his fingerprints and pictures taken. This lasted for an hour and he feared the harsh turn of events. He was put back in the underground cell again.
On Tuesday 05:00 thirty men came and they said they were taking him to the airport in three cars fully armed. They made him board the plane. They had purchased a one-way ticket from Dar es Salaam to London with British Airways.
He was now on the flight and officially deported from a second African country, a third illegally did not even allowing him to enter. The flight is normally 9.5hrs. Six hours into the flight he noticed that he was surrounded by empty seats, on his own and right at the back of the plane. There were no more seats behind him.
Someone unknown to him approached with two glasses of water and said, “Ibrahim Sharif! I know you, can I have a seat?” This person was an Englishman by the name of ‘Mark’. He was with the MI6 and wanted to talk. He said he had known or heard of Ibrahim for two years and had travelled from the UK on Sunday (Ibrahim had been picked up the Friday) and had seen him being escorted at the airport. ‘Mark’ said it had taken him ‘a long time’ (6hrs alone on the flight) to approach Ibrahim, ‘a good guy’.
‘Mark’ asked what had happened and said he was ‘shocked’ that Ibrahim had been arrested Friday and tortured since. He was emphatic that he ‘had nothing to do with it’ and that he knew Ibrahim is, “a good man.” He took out two pieces of paper, upon each there was an email address. The first his @yahoo.com email account and the second in Ibrahim’s name @hotmail.com. He said this was to ‘communicate’. ‘Mark’ also said that his ‘real name’ is ‘Andrew.’ Ibrahim did not take the papers as he knew they would be seized at the airport. ‘Mark/Andrew’ insisted that this was the only way they could communicate. He reiterated that Ibrahim was a ‘good guy’ and that he was not there to interrogate him, and then left.
Schedule 7: for the fourth time
He arrived in the UK, over three months from leaving, and was detained under the TACT 2000 Sch.7 for the fourth time, questioned and allowed to go free.
Ibrahim Sharif believes that his treatment at the hands of officials from Kenya, Oman, South Africa and Tanzania is directly being controlled and instigated by the UK security services to pressure him into cooperating with them. He is a widely networked, useful and influential individual in Mombasa, Kenya, because of the charity work he has engaged in. The anti-terror unit (ATU) in Kenya is US funded and follows the USA’s agenda. The United States is pushing the issue but Ibrahim’s British citizenship seems to complicate things for America’s direct intervention. However there is a strong interest from the USA and also a lesser interest from the UK to locate Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, as the MI5 stated to Ibrahim.
At the end of 2007 or early 2008 he had received a phone call in Kenya from the embassy but did not respond. It was then followed by an SMS stating there were people who would like to see him. It had come from an individual named ‘Ali’ who was widely known to be working with the intelligence services as a liaison officer and wanted to talk with Ibrahim. ‘Ali’ said the British embassy wanted to talk to him. It is also widely known that the MI5 is stationed at embassies, including the one that wanted to talk to Ibrahim.
When he was detained, mistreated and interrogated in Tanzania the Tanzanian intelligence officers kept insisting that Ibrahim tell them where they could purchase firearms in the UK. He told them no shops sell them. But they insisted so much he nearly said they could buy them at Tesco, what was the UK’s largest supermarket chain on the 28th March 2011.
In Oman the information fed to intelligence officers there, Ibrahim believes, definitely came from the UK. The information stated that Ibrahim had trained and intended to bomb a military base in Oman. Ibrahim came to know this from his friends. During the Kenya raids pictures had been found. The Omani friend he resided with was a photography fanatic. The pictures found by the Kenyan authorities showed a license plate and some showed a military base in the background. In Oman the photography fanatic was interrogated and said that he took the pictures and Ibrahim could not have known where he was as he was taken everywhere and only remained in the country ten days. The Omani authorities knew the allegations did not hold water and verified the information fed to them by the MI5. This information included serious allegations that he had smuggled people into the country and had no immigration stamp on his passport. Ibrahim showed them that he certainly had entered the country legally by sending a copy of his passport to them. The Omani authorities did not approach Ibrahim despite him remaining in the country for a month and a half.
To highlight the injustices Ibrahim and others are suffering under this harassment by the security services, two campaigns in Kenya are underway to get justice for Ibrahim and change the system. In Kenya an intelligence officer has approached his family and said that Ibrahim has done no wrong and that he should be allowed to settle back in Kenya. He left a phone number and Ibrahim has spoken to him. The other campaign is a Muslim organisation, aghast at how Ibrahim is being treated, phoned him and have also began a campaign to clear his good name.
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Published in UK
- Terrorism Act 2000
- Clara Gutteridge
- British citizen
- Military base
- Sleep deprivation
- Schedule 7
- Ibrahim Sharif
- Fazul Abdullah Mohammed
- Kenya’s most wanted
- House raid
- Counter Terrorism Command
- TACT 2000
- South Africa
- British taxpayers
- Dar es Salaam
- Underground cell
- British Airways
- Antiterror unit
- US funded
- British embassy
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