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Ibrahim

Ibrahim is a British-born man who had his passport taken from him in 2013 because the Secretary of State concluded that it is undesirable and not conducive to public interest for him to enjoy the privileges of a passport.

Ibrahim has been harassed by the security services for many years. This has included house raids, frequent contact with MI5 agents that attempted to recruit him and schedule 7 stops whenever he decided to travel anywhere. Ibrahim was one of the organisers of the first aid convoys heading for Syria in 2012 shortly after the conflict broke out. Apart from the aid convoys, Ibrahim often travelled to Europe with his wife because her parents live outside of the UK.

Ibrahim did not experience many problems during his extensive travels until 2007 when the questioning at airports increased. Shortly after that he was first recruited by the MI5. The MI5 agent handed him an iPhone and told him that unless he would contact them within a week they would next meet in a police station. He did not call and did not hear anything either for a whole year, until 2009 when he was traveling to Turkey to get materials for his bookshop. He was stopped on his return and subsequently arrested. Apparently the materials that police seized during a raid in his bookshop a couple of years before were analysed by a terrorism expert who argued that Ibrahim’s bookshop was ‘terrorist education’ as they sold materials by people such as the co-founder of the al-Qaeda. Ibrahim was instructed to close down the bookshop but was not arrested. A couple years later, Ibrahim was again approached by two MI5 agents, Amy and Andrew, who kept in contact with him over a period of two years, asking for a meeting which Ibrahim never agreed to.

In the next year or two Ibrahim was traveling extensively again, to Egypt and Turkey on aid convoys without experiencing any problems apart from the Schedule 7 stops. On one occasion, when traveling together with his wife and kids to Egypt, they were all stopped, questioned in separate rooms for several hours and then refused entry to Egypt resulting in them needing to travel all the way back to the UK. After that, Ibrahim was arrested a couple of times, once for a speeding ticket and then again when driving his son to school. Both times he was released shortly after the arrests. It was during the second arrest, with his son in the car, that Ibrahim’s passport was first seized. Later that year, at the end of summer in 2013, he received a letter from the Home Office informing him that his passport was being removed and that he had no right to a passport.

In 2015, Ibrahim applied for a passport again, stating that he was willing to inform the authorities of his planned travels. His passport was refused with the justification that there is no entitlement to a passport and that Ibrahim is ‘considered a person whose past and present or purposed activities, actual or suspected, are so undesirable that the grant or continued enjoyment of passport facilities is believed to be contrary to the public interest’. Not having a passport impacts on Ibrahim’s whole family, particularly his wife whose parents live abroad and who now faces difficulties traveling to see them.

*All names are pseudonyms*