ICE - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

11/10/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/10/2022 12:52

Convicted al-Qaida terrorist removed to United Kingdom by ICE ERO Boston

BOSTON - Officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Boston field office removed convicted foreign terrorist Haroon Rashid Aswat, 48, to the United Kingdom Nov. 9, after his transfer from a Massachusetts prison to ICE custody earlier that day.

Aswat is a British citizen convicted in U.S. federal court of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization (al-Qaida) and one count of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Aswat, who was sentenced in 2015, served seven years in a U.S. federal prison. He was issued a judicial removal order by a federal judge that directed his removal to the United Kingdom. That judicial order was carried out by ERO deportation officers and Aswat was transferred to British law enforcement authorities at London's Heathrow Airport.

The federal case provided evidence that in late 1999, Aswat, along with other since-convicted foreign terrorists, attempted to establish a terrorist training camp in the United States to support al-Qaida. Evidence showed that Aswat conspired with Abu Hamza and others to establish the camp on a rural parcel of property located in Bly, Oregon, for purposes of providing participants with training - including military-style jihad training - in preparation to conduct jihad in Afghanistan.

Originally admitted into the U.S. under a visa authorization in 1999, Aswat overstayed his visa terms but departed the country at an unknown date prior to 2005. Arrested abroad by U.S. authorities on terrorism-related charges in Zambia in 2005, Aswat fought extradition to the U.S. for 10 years; however, he was extradited to the U.S. in 2015, after which he plead guilty to terrorism charges. Aswat had been indicted on the charges by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York as part of a wider foreign terrorism-related case of several al-Qaida foreign terrorists, including notorious convicted al-Qaida member Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza.

"ERO Boston's commitment to public safety is exemplified by this high-risk removal of a convicted member of al-Qaida," said Boston ERO Field Office Director Todd M. Lyons. "Mr. Aswat, who sought to train future al-Qaida members and provided material support to terrorist organizations around the globe, has been successfully turned over to authorities in the U.K. This operation reminds us all of the critical contributions to public safety that our dedicated and tireless team of professionals make on a daily basis."

With approximately 6,000 officers assigned to 25 ERO field offices and headquarters in more than 200 domestic locations and 25 overseas locations, ERO is responsible for interior immigration enforcement operations, management of the agency's detained and non-detained populations, and removal of individuals who have received a final order of removal.

ERO protects America through enforcing immigration laws to preserve national security and public safety. Immigration enforcement is the largest single area of responsibility for ERO, and is a critical component of the overall safety, security and well-being of our nation. ERO manages all aspects of the immigration enforcement process, including identification and arrest, detention, bond management, supervised release, transportation and removal. In addition, ERO repatriates noncitizens ordered removed from the U.S. to more than 170 countries around the world. ERO and its workforce are responsible for managing a safe, orderly and humane immigration enforcement process.