UK Considers Citizen Travel Restrictions

Concerned about possible terrorism-related visits abroad by immigrants and British citizens, U.K. officials are considering imposing a ban on travel to certain countries by convicted criminals.

In the wake of ongoing terrorist incidents, including recent failed attempts by a group comprised largely of immigrant physicians to blow up fuel-laden cars in England and Scotland, officials in the United Kingdom are worried that persons involved in such incidents may be traveling to foreign countries on British passports for terrorism training, reports the Associated Press.

They are now scrutinizing, for instance, whether Muktar Said Ibrahim, 29, who was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for leading a failed London transit bombing attempt in 2005, may have gotten help with the plot when he visited Pakistan in 2004, the AP article says. (The failed 2005 bombing plot closely followed another 2005 London transit bombing that killed 52.) Despite minor criminal convictions for assault, Ibrahim, a refugee from Eritrea, obtained a British passport in 2004, which has also caused concern about the country’s immigration policies.

In an appearance in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that any travel restriction on criminals “may need to go wider than just terrorist offenses,” and he also expressed concern that a record of juvenile offenses—which Ibrahim had—should be considered in decision-making about travel and granting citizenship. A spokesman for the prime minister later said no decision has been made about countries that might be included in travel restrictions.

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