'Stateless' son of Abu Hamza wants UK terror trial

By Zoie O'Brien
BBC News

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Sufyan in Syria
Image caption,
Sufyan Mostafa Kamal says he "never broke any international law, nor took part in any attacks against civilians" during his time in Syria

A son of jailed hate preacher Abu Hamza has urged the government to put him on trial after being accused of terrorism and having his UK citizenship revoked.

Sufyan Mostafa Kamal is in a detention centre in Rotterdam, despite, he says, not being convicted of any crimes.

Mr Kamal, who is from London, was stripped of his UK passport after travelling to Syria to fight against President Assad's regime.

The Home Office would not confirm details of his case.

Mr Kamal told the BBC: "The reasons they gave is that they suspect I have been involved in terrorist activity during my stay in Syria. I strongly deny these accusations.

"My lawyer and I would like to have a public trial. I want to know what is the foundation to support these accusations? How did they come to this conclusion?"

Mr Kamal, 27, was jailed in Turkey in 2019 after leaving Syria. He was later released and lived freely but was deported to Jordan after the UK accused him of terrorism.

The government revoked his British citizenship in 2016, he says. Such a measure is only taken "after careful consideration", where it is considered to be "conducive to the public good", according to the Home Office.

Daniel Furner, a solicitor acting on Mr Kamal's behalf, said his client had appealed against the decision and the case was currently "pending".

Image source, Unnown
Image caption,
Mr Kamal says he is missing his children growing up in London

In 2021, Mr Kamal was returned to Turkey before being put on a flight to the UK. The flight transited in Amsterdam, where he was arrested and sent to the Nieuw Vosseveld high-security prison in Vught.

The legal case against him in the Netherlands was abandoned in November due to a lack of evidence, according to Mr Kamal's lawyer in the country, Frederieke Dolle.

Mr Kamal was then sent to a detention centre in Rotterdam, where he remains.

He said the Home Office had refused to consider prosecuting him in the UK, as he was no longer a citizen, and he feared he could spend his entire life being moved between countries.

Mr Kamal says he is now stateless, although Ms Dolle said he may have a claim to Moroccan citizenship. Morocco has not confirmed any details about his status.

'I tried to help people'

"The accusations they've (the UK authorities) been making against me have been forwarded to governments wherever I go," Mr Kamal said.

"I believed in the Syrian revolution and I believed as a person with an Arabic background that it was my duty to be a part of it. It never occurred to me that I would be labelled as a terrorist for just being there.

"I wasn't doing humanitarian work, I was in the battlefields, but I never broke any international law, nor took part in any attacks against civilians. I was fighting the Assad regime. I did not take part in any barbaric actions. I tried to help people who were suffering in Syria."

Mr Kamal has a wife, whom he married in Turkey, and two children in London.

He added: "My children are growing up without me and my wife is living as a single mother. It is hard."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Sufyan Mostafa Kamal is one of seven sons of the radical cleric Abu Hamza, who preached at Finsbury Park Mosque

Mr Kamal's legal team believe his father's notoriety may be the reason for him being detained without prosecution.

Abu Hamza, a former Finsbury Park Mosque preacher, was found guilty in the USA in 2014 of hostage-taking and plotting to set up a terrorism training camp in the country. He is serving a whole-life sentence.

'Pushed back and forth'

Ms Dolle said she believed Mr Kamal had been treated unfairly.

"The Dutch police has investigated these claims and not found any evidence to the contrary," she said. "Sufyan has always vehemently denied being associated with jihadist organisations and no evidence for this was found.

"He is now being pushed back and forth between various countries. It seems that the legal avenues are being improperly used for political means."

Mr Kamal added: "We can't ignore the elephant in the room - my father - but I am only responsible for my own words and my own actions, but they think they will have a second Abu Hamza on their hands. That is not the case.

"The British government have taken my citizenship and made the world a very small place for me, but one thing they'll never take is my determination to be with my wife and children again.

"I just want the chance to prove my innocence."

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