Haroon Rashid Aswat

Haroon Rashid Aswat

Haroon Rashid Aswat (born ca. 1979 in Britain) is a British citizen of Indian origin. He is alleged to have ties to al Qaeda. cite news
date=July 31, 2005
title=Tangled web that still leaves worrying loose ends
publisher=The Times
author = Richard Woods et al.

Possible role in the London transit bombing of July 7th, 2005

In the first two weeks following the July 7 2005 bombingsPolice sources initially told newspapers that Aswat made some 20 mobile phone calls to two of the suspected bombers, Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, one just hours before the blasts.cite news
date=July 21 2005
title=Top al-Qaeda Briton called Tube bombers before attack
author=Zahid Hussain, Daniel McGrory Sean O’Neill
publisher=The Times

On July 31 2005, following a more thorough forensic analysis of the remains of the bombers' phones, "The Times" reported that:

Possible role in setting up a training camp in Oregon in 1999

Aswat is reported to have first come to the attention of American counter-terrorism officials in 2002, because they believed he helped set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon in the United States in 1999.cite news
title=Brains behind terror plot may be Brit the security services thought
publisher=Sunday Herald
date=July 31 2005
author=Liam McDougall
] cite news
title=Raids nab rest of 4 bombs suspects: Arrests made in London and Rome
publisher=Los Angeles Times
author=Letta Tayler, Colby Itkowitz
date=July 30, 2005

According to The Sunday Herald, by 1999, Aswat was calling himself a "hit man" for bin Laden.

Believed KIA in Afghanistan in 2003

Aswat's passport was found on a man killed in action in Afghanistan in early 2003.cite news
title= Suspect in London fatal blasts eluded arrest
author=William K. Rashbaum, Raymond Bonner
publisher=International Herald Tribune
date=Saturday, July 30, 2005
] American and British counterterrorism officials believed the dead man was Aswat.

Resurfaces in South Africa in 2005

Local South African newspapers who interviewed his neighbors and co-workers reported that Aswat had been living an outwardly quiet life in South Africa for at least five months.cite news
title=UK blast mastermind sold CDs in Johannesburg
date=August 2, 2005

Evades capture

The "New York Times" quotes unnamed security officials that when Aswat's presence was brought to the attention of American authorities they wanted to subject him to an extraordinary rendition.The "New York Times" sources said British officials objected: quotation
"The discussion was whether or not they would render him.

"He's got U.K. papers, and they said you can't render somebody with U.K. papers."

Aswat subsequently evaded surveillance in South Africa, and slipped back in to Britain, though the channel port of Felixstowe, in late June 2005.cite news
title=7/7 'Mr Big' seized] ,
publisher=The Sun
date=28 July 2005
] Aswat left Britain, through London's Heathrow airport on July 7 2005, hours before the bombers struck on that day.

On July 29 2005, during an interview on "Fox News" a former US prosecutor named John Loftus, asserted that Aswat was a double agent, backed by Britain's MI6.cite news
title=Britain now faces its own blowback: Intelligence interests may thwart the July bombings investigation
author=Michael Meacher
date=Saturday September 10, 2005
publisher=The Guardian
] Loftus claimed that MI6 intervened to protect Aswat while he was trying to evade capture.

Capture, and extradition to the United Kingdom

Aswat was reported to have been captured in Pakistan, shortly after the bombings.cite news
title=British Al Qaeda suspect 'called bombers'
publisher=Daily Mail
date=July 21 2005
] Aswat was, however, arrested in Zambia, on July 20 2005.cite news
title=Bombings mastermind held in Zambia
date=July 29 2005
publisher=Daily Mail
] He was deported from Zambia to the UK on 7 August 2005 and arrested on his arrival.

Following Aswat's capture his family issued a press release that statedcite news
title=U.K. Gov't Plans Tough Terror Laws
date=Thursday, July 21, 2005
publisher=Fox News
] :

Extradition to the United States

Once Aswat was transferred to the United Kingdom he was held in detention on a U.S. arrest warrant.cite news
date=August 8 2005
title=British al-Qaeda suspect facing extradition to US
author=Simon Freeman
publisher=The Times
] cite news
title='Al-Qaida' Briton faces extradition to US
date=Thursday January 5 2006
publisher=The Guardian
] cite news
title=10 detained over 'threat to national security'
author=James Sturcke
date=Thursday August 11, 2005
publisher=The Guardian
] American justice officials sought to try Aswat for his alleged role in setting up the Oregon training camp in 1999.

A British judge approved Aswat's extradition on November 30 2006, discounting the concern Aswat's lawyers expressed that there was "a real risk" Aswat would face inhumane treatment in U.S. custody.cite news
title=British terror suspects lose extradition battle
date=November 30 2006
publisher=Daily Mail
] cite news
title=UK terror suspects lose extradition battle
date=Thursday November 30 2006
publisher=The Guardian


External links

* [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=357427&in_page_id=1770&in_a_source=&ct=5 Yard plays down bomb arrest reports] , "Daily Mail", 28 July 2005
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/29/international/29london.html As 3 Nations Consulted, Terror Suspect Eluded Arrest] , "The New York Times", 28 July 2005
*cite news
title=CNN BREAKING NEWS: Major Anti-Terror Operation Under Way in West London
date=July 29 2005

*cite news
title=7/7 one year on: Why did it happen? The big questions still need answers
author=Francis Elliott
coauthor=Sophie Goodchild
date=July 2 2006

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