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al-Faisal returns - Special measures to be put in place

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Special security measures are to take effect today when controversial Muslim cleric, Abdullah al-Faisal, returns to the island.

A senior member of the police force yesterday told The Gleaner that al-Faisal will be continuously monitored but refused to provide details on the extra security measures that would be implemented.

The senior officer, whose name is being withheld, also refused to provide details on what time the Jamaica-born cleric will land in the island today.

The senior cop's statement contradicted claims by Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Kenneth Baugh and Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds, who had previously claimed al-Faisal would face no extra scrutiny when he returned to Jamaica.

The Jamaica-born cleric is being deported from Kenya to Jamaica after that country managed to secure a direct flight to Kingston.

Initial efforts to deport al-Faisal to Jamaica had been hampered by the unwillingness of other nations to let him transit through their airports.

Breach of work permit

The 45-year-old was arrested on New Year's Day for preaching at a mosque in Nairobi, Kenya, in breach of his work permit.

Initial attempts to get him back to Jamaica through Gambia failed, sparking calls by his supporters in Kenya for him to be freed.

Last Friday, police in Nairobi arrested several supporters of al-Faisal, following a violent protest which left five persons dead.

Seven of those arrested appeared in a Nairobi court yesterday to answer charges of unlawful protest, theft and destruction of property.

Kenya's Human Rights Forum leader Al-Amin Kimathi was arrested when he turned up at court to support those arrested.

Born Trevor Forrest in Westmoreland, al-Faisal converted to Islam at age 16 and emigrated to Britain in the 1980s. He was imprisoned for four years in 2003 after allegedly calling for the murder of Americans, Hindus and Jews at a London mosque.

He was deported to Jamaica from Britain in 2007.