The brother of one of the men charged with the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich has claimed he was “harassed and threatened” by the British security services.
Michael Adebolajo’s younger brother, Jeremiah, 26, said he met MI6 intelligence officers numerous times while he was working in Saudia Arabia and was quizzed by MI5 early last year on a trip home to London.
He described a series of meetings, at the British Embassy in Riyadh, at airports and at other locations which he says he felt compelled to attend. At one stage, he claims he was stopped from flying on holiday so he could attend a meeting.
Mr Adebolajo, who cannot discuss his brother’s case for legal reasons, says he was first approached by MI6 early in 2011 when he was teaching English at the University of Ha’il in Nejd.
The approach from the British Embassy asking him to attend a meeting to discuss “life in Saudi Arabia” came a few weeks after his brother had been arrested in Kenya near the Somali border and deported to Britain.
During the meetings he was questioned about his brother-in-law James Thompson and asked about two other men who he was told had travelled to Yemen in advance of a terror attack on the UK.
Mr Adebolajo told The Times: “They were never openly aggressive, but they were always implicitly threatening. There was never the understanding that if I wanted I could stand up and say, that’s enough. There was always the understanding that that I have to co-operate or I would lose my job and I don’t know what else.”
He said the officers, who admitted they were from the security services, were particularly interested in the two men who had travelled to Yemen but denied their claims that he had been in contact with them.
“They were always looking for my knowledge and dealings with the two main indivuals they had shown me. They asked me biographical stuff, what mosques did I go to, do I pray, that sort of thing. Like they were trying to build a profile of me.”
When Drummer Rigby was killed on May 22 in Woolwich, Mr Adebolajo says he recognised his brother from a video posted online. He contacted his parents and said: “My Dad was so upset, distraught.”
Michael Adebolajo will next appear in court alongside co-defendant Michael Adebowale, 22, of Greenwich, south-east London, for a preliminary hearing on June 28.
Justin Davenport, Crime Editor
20 June 2013
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