Well, that money, taxpayers money, went right back into promoting terrorism. Good job Tony Blair, that’s an investment your country won’t forget. And we have a feeling you won’t either…
A British ISIS suicide bomber has been revealed as a former Guantanamo prisoner who was handed the equivalent of $1.25million in British taxpayers’ money as compensation before fleeing to Syria.
UK national Jamal Udeen al-Harith was photographed moments before blowing himself up in an attack on a military facility near Mosul in Iraq.
The Muslim convert – who changed his name from Ronald Fiddler in 1994 – was sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2002 after he was caught by American forces in Afghanistan.
After intense campaigning by Tony Blair’s government led by then-Home Secretary David Blunkett, the British citizen was freed two years later.
He launched a compensation claim on the grounds British agents knew or were complicit in his mistreatment and was handed £1million ($1.25million) in reparations.
Shortly after detonating the explosive-laden car near an army base this month, ISIS released a statement revealing al-Harith had been fighting for them under the name Abu Zakariya al-Britani.
Al-Harith, however, previously denied being a terrorist and claimed to have been taken prisoner by the Taliban after visiting the Middle East as part of a ‘religious holiday’.
At the time of his release from Guantanamo, Blunkett said: ‘No one who is returned… will actually be a threat to the security of the British people.’
But it emerged that, despite security services being fully aware of his previous detention, al-Harith, who worked as a web designer for a time, was able to escape the UK in 2014 to fight with ISIS in Syria, leading to his eventual death.
ISIS claim his suicide attack, during a raging battle for control of the city, caused multiple casualties but this has not been confirmed.
After his release from Guantanamo, al-Harith spoke of the treatment he received at the hands of the guards.
Speaking in 2004, he told the Mirror: ‘The whole point… was to get to you psychologically.
‘The beatings were not nearly as bad as the psychological torture – bruises heal after a week but the other stuff stays with you.
‘After a while, we stopped asking for human rights – we wanted animal rights.’
He said he was interviewed upwards of 40 times by American officials – sometimes to 12 hours at a time – and nine times by British agents.
He was finally released with five others and alongside the three men known as the Tipton Three – Rhuhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul.
Leon Jameson, Harith’s brother, told the Times he had ‘wasted his life’. Shown his picture, he said: ‘It is him, I can tell by his smile. If it is true then I’ve lost a brother, so another family (member) gone.’
His journey was revealed following an escape from ISIS-controlled Syria in 2015 by British mother Shukee Begum and her five children.
Miss Begum was married to al-Harith before he left the family home in Birmingham to fight in Syria, and had flown to the war-torn country to try to persuade the fanatic to return to the UK.
However, her attempts failed, and she endured a ten-month ordeal being passed between hostages and rebel groups as she tried to escape.
In 2015, she told Channel 4: ‘I’d love to go back to the UK. The UK is my home. I grew up there. My friends are there. My family are there. That’s where I consider to be home.
‘But I’m just not sure at the moment, with the track record of the current government, if the UK is somewhere I can achieve justice. I hope I’m wrong.’
At the time, she said she was biding her time before returning to Britain because she fears she could face terrorism charges.
Ms Begum, a law graduate from Greater Manchester, insists she did not support the extremists, and says she wanted to persuade al-Harith to return to the family home.
She told Channel 4 News: ‘I was thinking about the children’s futures. Was he part of it? Will he come back? All these things go through your mind.’
She added: ‘I was seeing on the news at this point that Isis was going from bad to worse… So I decided that I was going to try and speak some sense into him.
‘At the same time I wanted to see him. I wanted the children to see their father. I wanted the baby to meet his father as well.’
After arriving in Syria, Ms Begum ended up living in a crowded safe-house in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, along with dozens of other foreign women looking for their husbands.
Eventually, Ms Begum and her children were reunited with al-Harith, and the family moved to a house near al-Bab in northern Syria.
But her planned to bring him home failed as she could not convince him to leave.