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  1. ITV Report

Claims of Woolwich suspect's brother Jeremiah Adebolajo

Jeremiah Adebolajo talks to UK Editor Lucy Manning. Photo: ITV News

Jeremiah Adebolajo is the younger brother of Micheal Adebolajo, one of the men charged with the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich on May 22 this year.

Mr Adebolajo is under legal advice not to discuss his brother or his case, or what occurred in Woolwich on May 22, but his experience of approaches by British government officials in the two years prior to the murder of Lee Rigby raise interesting questions about the degree of focus placed on him and his family by the British authorities. For the last several years he has been resident in Saudi Arabia where he works as an English teacher. Like many of his family Mr Adebolajo is a convert to Islam, and he has a young family in Saudi.

He describes a pattern of approaches by British spies, which began around late 2010, soon after his brother was detained in Kenya and sent back to Britain. He says the meeting were initially quite frequent - around twice a month, tailing off to once every month or two, and continued until very recently.

Jeremiah Adebolajo's brother Michael. Credit: ITV News

He claims that the people who approached him had obtained his email and phone number and had monitored his communications in some way. It is not clear if this amounted to "call data", effectively phone bills, or actual phone tapping, though the former seems more likely. He says they asked him to attend meetings with him and suggested or implied that if he failed to comply then his life in Saudi Arabia would be made uncomfortable, for instance by losing his job. He also says that at one stage he was prevented from flying.

He described a number of meetings, at the British Embassy in Riyadh, at airports and at other locations which he felt compelled to attend. At the meetings he says he was told that he had been in communication with a number of people of interest to the British security and intelligence community, and that it was suggested to him that the communication had been "nefarious," which he denies. He says he was shown photographs of various individuals and questioned.

Jeremiah Adebolajo speaks to UK Editor Lucy Manning. Credit: ITV News

Jeremiah is adamant that he made plain that he did not wish to co-operate nor did he wish to have further meetings, but says: "I felt there was no choice but to meet them whenever they wanted to meet me, to speak to them whenever they wanted to speak to me." He denies categorically ever having acted as a spy, secret agent or informer for any branch of the British state.

He is not the only member of Michael Adebolajo's family to describe such meetings. ITV News is aware of claims of a number of meetings between Security Service and members of the Adebolajo family in the UK. Michael Adebolajo's brother-in-law, James, has described frequent meetings at hotels and other locations with officials, over the same rough time frame. His sister, Blessing, also complained in April 2012 about repeated security service contact with family members.

The organisation to which Blessing Adebolajo took her complaint is Cageprisoners, a human-rights organisation with a focus on the treatment of Muslim prisoners and other Muslims in the "War on Terror".

Asim Qureshi, of Cageprisoners, says that he finds Jeremiah Adebolajo's case to be "…absolutely credible, we've heard this story many times over and over again. Clients come to us or we hear about them ourselves who have been harassed by the security agencies… people like Jeremiah were in a situation, in vulnerable positions in countries that have very little in terms of legal system and can often be preyed upon in order to try and turn them into working for them."

Security sources would not confirm or deny that any such contacts actually took place. Its far from unusual for the security service, also known as MI5 and their sister organisation the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), to approach people who may be in a position to offer them information. In fact such approaches are their raison d'etre.

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