Mosque man: we didn't help fugitive
The founder of a mosque where terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed managed to dodge surveillance by disguising himself as a woman has denied that anyone at the institution helped him escape.
Mohamed, who was last seen fleeing the mosque in West London while wearing a burka, is understood to have received training and fought overseas for al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based cell of the militant Islamist group al Qaida.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said it was clear to him - though unconfirmed by the police - that Mohamed had been able to contact supporters to help him escape, despite being the subject of a Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpim) order.
But Khalid Rashad, who founded the An-Noor Masjid and Community Centre in Acton, said no one from the mosque had been involved.
He told Channel 4 News: "I completely refute that, because I do not understand why we, as the management of this institution, would condone such a thing."
Mr Rashad said he saw Mohamed - who had visited the centre before - in his normal clothes on Friday, the day he disappeared.
But he said he was unaware Mohamed had an electronic tag and he had "not got a clue" about how or where he changed into the burka.
"I personally did not know what was going on, I am still in a state of shock from what has taken place in our centre," he said.
Mohamed is the second person to go missing while the subject of a Tpim and Mr Johnson joined calls for tougher controls over terror suspects after the "absurd" escape.
He blamed "coalition politics" for watering down the previous control order system and said Home Secretary Theresa May should warn Liberal Democrats the situation was "ludicrous".
Both Mohamed and the other Tpim suspect to escape, Ibrahim Magag - who ripped off his electronic tag and vanished in a black cab - were members of a UK-based network for terrorism-related activity in Somalia.
Mr Johnson said: "Plainly (Tpims) are not working in the way we would like them to work in the sense that this guy Mohamed was able to flee in absurd circumstances and there must be questions about whether we should be tougher in the way we administer these things.
"If a fellow can get into a burka and evade his invigilators in the way that Mr Mohamed has done, then we clearly need to look at how it is working.
"Depending on how much of a risk you are deemed to pose, you should be deprived of contact with networks that might help you with any end you desire.
"This guy Mohamed was obviously helped to escape. I don't believe for a minute that he did it on his own. He was in contact with people who are sympathisers.
"Characters such as him - and even if he doesn't pose an immediate threat to this country, it is plain he is a danger - should be more closely invigilated than they currently are and I am sure that is a point that Theresa May will be taking up very actively."
On the day of his disappearance, Mohamed was cleared at the Old Bailey of tampering with his tag, it is understood.
David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, had revealed that criminal charges had been dropped on Friday against a number of Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpim) subjects for allegedly tampering with security tags, but did not specify whether Mohamed was one of those involved.
The Crown Prosecution Service would not comment on named individuals but said in a statement that the cases of three Tpim subjects had recently been discontinued. There were outstanding alleged offences against one of the three, known as CC, who is due to stand trial in April, they added.
The spokeswoman said: " When we authorised charges in these cases, we did so after a review of the available evidence, including that of an expert who believed that the tags had been deliberately damaged by the individuals required to wear them under the Tpim regime.
"Following further inquiries by the police and a review of new material we are unable to prove to the criminal standard that the subject of the Tpim deliberately damaged the tag. As there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction, we offered no evidence against the two defendants and stopped the case.
"As is our usual practice at the conclusion of our cases we will be speaking with the police and other partners to discuss any issues raised by these cases."
Mrs May has insisted that 27-year-old Mohamed does not pose "a direct threat" to members of the public, despite mounting concerns over his disappearance.
Mohamed arrived at the An-Noor Masjid and Community Centre wearing Western-style clothing on 10am on Friday and was last seen there at 3.15pm that day.
Along with 28-year-old Magag and others, Mohamed is thought to be a member of a UK-based network which had access to money, false passports and documentation, as well as equipment
Mohamed is understood to have procured funds and weapons for terrorism uses for the network.