Lebanon police arrest radical Muslim cleric convicted of terrorism

[JURIST] Lebanese authorities on Monday arrested Syrian national and radical Muslim cleric, Omar Bakri Mohammed, less than a week after he was convicted of terrorism by a military court. Bakri was after a gunfire riddled car chase arrested [LAT report] in the northern city of Tripoli where he had been living. He was convicted in absentia [JURIST report] last week for belonging to an armed group that carried out terrorist acts against Lebanese soldiers in 2007 and was sentenced to a life term. He claims that he never received a summons or an arrest warrant and had refused to turn himself in. Bakri is known for having praised the 9/11 hijackers as "the magnificent 19" and practices the same sect of Sunni Muslim as Osama bin Laden. He has been living in Lebanon since 2005 where US security experts fear that terrorist supports have found refuge amongst the Lebanese Sunni population.

Bakri was living openly in Lebanon appearing regularly on television and talking with Western journalists. He previously lived in the UK for 20 years until he fled to Lebanon in 2005 after being named in an investigation by British authorities for allegedly making remarks in support of the London bombers [JURIST reports]. Bakri also reportedly praised insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan while vowing not to inform authorities of any information he learned about future terrorist attacks. In 2005, he denied talking about the bombings and said he planed to return to London. While living in Britain, Bakri headed the now-dissolved Islamist group al-Muhajiroun.

 

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