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Lee Rigby killer “not victim of conspiracy or mistreatment”

Michael Adebolajo
Michael Adebolajo

Claims that one of Fusilier Lee Rigby's killers was mistreated after he was arrested in Kenya have been dismissed by a watchdog.

A Government-ordered report also found that Michael Adebolajo was "most definitely not" the subject of a conspiracy by UK intelligence services.

Fusilier Rigby was killed by Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale outside Woolwich Barracks in south east London in 2013. The pair were later jailed for life.

In a report published in 2014 the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee found that security agencies could not have foreseen or prevented the murder.

However, it raised concerns about the response to Adebolajo's arrest in Kenya in November 2010 and his subsequent allegations of mistreatment - sparking a report by Intelligence Services Commissioner Sir Mark Waller, which was published on Thursday.

It concluded that Adebolajo was not the victim of a conspiracy, torture or mistreatment.

The commissioner wrote: "I found that Mr Adebolajo was most definitely not the subject of an intelligence services conspiracy and that his allegations of mistreatment at the hands of the Kenyan authorities were probably untrue.

"Indeed, I think it highly unlikely that Mr Adebolajo was mistreated by any of the Kenyan police or intelligence units which work with HMG (HM Government)."

Adebolajo flew from the UK to Kenya in October 2010. He was arrested a month later in a remote village just over 40 miles from the border with Somalia, before being returned to Britain.

UK intelligence services were not aware of or involved in the arrest, and there was no reason to think they should have been, Sir Mark's report found.

It said the response of MI5 and MI6 to the arrest and detention of Adebolajo in Kenya was "generally good".

The commissioner did not share the committee's criticism that MI6 - officially known as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) - demonstrated a "deeply unsatisfactory" or "passive" approach to the case.

Sir Mark wrote: "To my mind, the disruption of Mr Adebolajo's travel to Somalia represented an effective and satisfactory outcome which served the national security interests of the UK."

The report found that MI5 and MI6's response to the arrest and detention suffered from some defects.

It also raised concerns about the effectiveness of MI6's engagement with both the committee's inquiry and Sir Mark's review.

But the commissioner added: "I would immediately stress that I do not think that SIS or any of its staff sought to obstruct or mislead either investigation or otherwise engaged in any kind of 'cover up'."

In a written statement confirming the publication of Sir Mark's report, Prime Minister Theresa May said: "I welcome the fact that he has firmly rejected any suggestion of a conspiracy by the security and intelligence agencies in Mr Adebolajo's detention and that he has found no evidence to support the allegation that he was subject to mistreatment at the hands of the Kenyan authorities.

"The Government will look carefully at Sir Mark's detailed analysis of the handling of this case and will take steps to address the issues where he has identified shortcomings in the response at the time, drawing upon the report's recommendations."