Jihadi John, the masked face of Islamic State (IS) in many beheading videos was reportedly refused entry to Tanzania and subsequently deported in 2009.
The Washington Post yesterday identified the knife-wielding man as British citizen Mohammed Emwazi, 26.
In 2010, documents reveal Emwazi wrote letters to CAGE, a British organization campaigning on behalf of victims of the war on terror, claiming he went to Tanzania on a safari but was instead detained and deported.
The letters reveal Emwazi was detained on arrival and in Dar es Salaam before being put on a plane to the Netherlands the next day, where he was questioned by British intelligence.
Emwazi says the British officer accused him of wanting to fight with Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
An essay by CAGE says while detained in Dar, Emwazi was forcibly stripped to his underwear and left in a cell without food or water.
“Without being given an official reason, he was denied entry. He eventually physically dragged him to a car waiting outside and taken to a police station. He remained there for about 24 hours without food or drink, being threatened by officers armed with guns and sticks,” says the CAGE essay.
CAGE says Emwazi asked one of the officials, named Emmanuel, why he was being detained.
“This is not the Tanzanian government,” Emmanuel is reported to have said, showing Emwazi a document with his name, flight details and at the bottom, a piece of writing which said ‘refuse entry and send back to the UK with the same flight.’
But police here have no record of the incident, saying Emwazi’s name does not appear in any databases for persons detained or deported.
“I can not say for certain that he was not held here,” says Inspector General of Police Ernest Mangu.
“Criminals of his type are masters of deception,” says Mangu, noting that Emwazi may have been traveling on forged documents under a different name.
Emwazi, who comes from a middle-class family and has a degree in computer programming in Britain, was apparently radicalized after his detention and deportation from Tanzania in 2009 and being barred from travel to Kuwait in 2010.
“I feel like a prisoner,” he wrote to CAGE, “a person imprisoned and controlled by security service men, stopping me from living my new life.”
He is believed to have traveled to Syria in 2012.