He is the vile one gang rapist whose deportation was infamously thwarted at the last moment for airline passenger riot of virtuous signaling in the same flight
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal how it took five years to finally ship Yaqub Ahmed is back in Somalia, with ministers forced to offer an extraordinary package of concessions to break its relentless cycle of dubious human rights appeals.
To secure his deportation, the criminal was given a 14-week stay in one of Somalia’s most luxurious hotels, all meals included, plus armed guards and a personalized therapy package after complaining of mental health problems , all at the expense of taxpayers. Instead, the woman he attacked when she was just 16 has struggled to find such help for the mental scars she inflicted.
Ahmed has dragged his deportation fight through at least 24 separate court hearings or tribunals, before 20 or more judges, as he made a series of false claims. But today this newspaper can reveal the 34-year-old was finally kicked out in August, after costing taxpayers up to £1million in legal, prison and deportation costs, including the generous ‘severance package’ attention’ to greet his arrival in Somalia.
Last night, Ahmed’s victim said it was “absolutely shocking” that officials were forced to go out of their way to defeat her repeated human rights appeals.
“Our legal system is a joke,” he said. ‘We used to say that we were quite fair; well, we’re not. None of this has been fair.
SO CLOSE: Circled rapist Yaqub Ahmed is led off the flight due to be deported as passengers frustrate Home Office efforts, sparking five years of human rights challenges through the courts.
Ahmed was jailed in 2008 after he and three other men lured their teenage victim to a flat in London before brutally attacking her.
LUXURY VOLT: Somalia’s peace hotel where Ahmed was offered full board accommodation for 14 weeks
The petal-strewn beds offered to guests at the Peace Hotel in Somalia
Details of Ahmed’s extraordinary case reveal how easily foreign criminals can stand up to officials and come just days after the Supreme Court torpedoed Rishi Sunak’s flagship plan to deport Channel migrants to Rwanda.
Former home secretary Suella Braverman told The Mail on Sunday the case was an example of how criminals exploit human rights laws to make “spurious, repetitive and ultimately obstructive” legal claims to thwart the deportation
Our exclusive research also reveals that:
- Ahmed has cost taxpayers nearly £85,000 in legal aid;
- A chartered flight used to deport him eventually cost around £200,000 and it is not clear if there were other deportees on board;
- In an audacious plot, Ahmed concocted a claim that he would be targeted by Islamic State terrorists if he returned to Somalia, and arranged for a fake death threat video to be posted online;
- Ahmed exploited modern slavery laws by falsely claiming he was under the control of a UK drug gang;
- A senior BBC editor was paid to testify for Ahmed, but his testimony was heavily criticized by the judges and his objectivity was called into question;
- A draconian legal order prevented this newspaper from revealing Ahmed’s duplicity until now, as he was granted anonymity for 15 weeks after he was deported.
Ahmed was granted refugee status in 2003 after coming to Britain from Somalia aged 14.
But he was jailed in 2008 after he and three other men lured their teenage victim to a flat in London before brutally attacking her. A judge criticized him for “having no respect for other human beings”.
In April 2015, Theresa May, then Home Secretary, removed him from refugee status and gave him a deportation order. This was, however, merely the opening salvo in a tortuous legal battle.
The series of hearings was so high that the Court of Appeal and the Government lawyers have fought against three claims of the rapist and his lawyers for a judicial review.
Six successive Home Secretaries have tried to get him out of the UK. In October 2018, his deportation collapsed dramatically when tourists, unaware of his horrific crime, rioted and demanded he be removed from the Turkish Airlines plane that was about to take him off out of the UK while sitting on the tarmac at Heathrow.
A typical security detail provided by the Peace Hotel in Somalia
FRUIT: Interior Ministry team escorts Ahmed to Turkish Airlines flight that should have deported him in 2018
TENSE SITUATION: An official from the Ministry of the Interior talks to rioting passengers on the plane
How the Mail on Sunday published the story about the stay of deportation of rapist Ahmed in October 2018
April 2019: How could the passengers on the bleeding heart plane stop my rapist from being deported?
October 2018: How plane riot rapist cost you £300,000 (and STILL hasn’t been kicked out of the UK)
In an audacious plot, Ahmed concocted a claim that he would be targeted by Islamic State terrorists if he returned to Somalia, and arranged for a fake death threat video to be posted online.
A shocking three-minute video showed passengers erupting in applause as the four-member Home Office team ushered him off the plane, with one holidaymaker shouting: “You’re free man!”
Ahmed was hours later escorted onto another deportation flight on at least two more occasions, only for his removal to be halted by last-ditch legal challenges.
Court documents obtained by the MoS reveal how, in an attempt to persuade the courts that deportation would not breach his human rights, Home Office officials took the extraordinary step of agreeing to use public funds to support Ahmed for three and a half months. after his arrival in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu.
“This included the provision of mental health medication and psychological services through a clinic in Mogadishu,” the papers said. The package also included a month’s supply of anti-depressants, full board accommodation at the Peace Hotel for 14 weeks, transport from the airport to the hotel in an armored vehicle and transport between the hotel and a clinic for to medical appointments.
Ultimately, however, even this was not enough to prevent another human rights appeal. On 2 November 2020, just two days before his scheduled deportation, Ahmed claimed he was at risk of being killed if he returned to Somalia.
Court documents show how this final appeal was helped by BBC Africa editor Mary Harper, who appeared as an expert witness.
She warned in a written report and during a hearing before three judges that if Ahmed was sent back to Somalia his life would be in danger. He said he would struggle to find work and even claimed he could be accused of being a British spy.
‘Why are their human rights prioritized over mine and people like me?’ Hannah, Ahmed’s victim, not her real name
Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman (pictured) told The Mail on Sunday the case was an example of how criminals exploit human rights laws to make legal claims that are “spurious, repetitive and ultimately obstructive ” to thwart deportation.
Last night Ms Harper, 58, did not respond when asked how much she was paid, but experts estimated a typical fee could be around £3,000.
It later emerged that Ahmed’s latest appeal was based on false evidence. Days before he was deported, a video mysteriously appeared online purportedly showing Islamic State gunmen threatening to kill Ahmed. But in a bombshell trial last year, three judges ruled that the video was actually a “fabrication” that had been recorded on Ahmed’s orders.
His victim, Hannah, not her real name, last night criticized the justice system. “He denied his human rights after doing what he did,” she said. ‘It was not a human thing. Why are their human rights prioritized over mine and people like me?’
For years, the MoS has been unable to fully report on Ahmed’s case because of a series of draconian court orders. The most recent order, granted last December, granted Ahmed anonymity until “the first day of the fortnight” after his removal from the UK.
Dawn Alford, chief executive of the Society of Editors, said the order was “very concerning”.
This newspaper also successfully fought an “unprecedented” request that three of Ahmed’s lawyers be granted anonymity.
The Home Office has removed 14,700 foreign offenders between January 2019 and March 2023. A spokesman said: “Returning a foreign offender to their country of origin can be hugely challenging. Support packages are occasionally required to obtain the agreement of the court to proceed with the deportation”.