• Friday, September 30, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Double agent ‘involved’ in smuggling Shamima Begum into Syria may get political asylum in Canada

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

A double agent believed to be involved in the trafficking of Shamima Begum and two other British teenage schoolgirls into Syria is likely to be granted political asylum in Canada following his release from Turkish jail on August 5, media reports said.

Mohammed al-Rashed, recruited by Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in 2013, was arrested two years later over terrorism charges.

As he had been promised asylum in Canada, the spy agency was planning to relocate him, reports said.

According to a Telegraph report, Turkey is against al-Rashed’s continued presence in the country but deporting him to Syria could potentially expose him to death at the hands of the Islamic State seeking to avenge his betrayal or the Syrian regime because of his links to the terrorist organisation.

Richard Kerbaj’s book titled The Secret History of the Five Eyes said the CSIS had recruited al-Rashed as a double agent when he visited Canada’s embassy in Jordan asking for asylum.

However, his cover was blown when Turkish authorities arrested him and travel documents, including bus tickets, belonging to Begum and her friends were found with him.

The book claimed Canada only privately admitted its involvement with al-Rashed and asked Britain to help cover it up.

After his alleged involvement in the smuggling of the girls surfaced last month, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau vowed to investigate the allegations.

However, Trudeau defended the need for intelligence services to be “flexible and creative in their approaches” for the safety of Canada “in a very dangerous world.”

At the same time, he said spy agencies were expected to follow rules.

“We expect those rules to be followed,” the prime minister said as he promised to follow up on the “questions about certain incidents or operations of the past”.

Any confirmation of al-Rashed’s asylum could escalate tensions between the intelligence agencies of Canada and the UK, The Telegraph reported.

Government sources have indicated to the newspaper that they would resist Begum’s fresh legal attempts to reverse the revocation of her British citizenship.

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