By Jun Ramirez
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has deported a suspected commander of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS), eight months after he was arrested by military and police authorities in Manila.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said Egyptian Fehmi Lassoued, 33, was flown out of the country on October 6 to Egyptian capital Cairo where he was later taken into government custody.
Morente said Lassoued was expelled for violation of the Philippine Immigration Act.
It can be recalled that Lassoued and his Filipino girlfriend were arrested in February after the joint police and military operatives allegedly found a gun, several improvised explosives, an ISIS flag, and maps with drawings of the group’s probable operational plans.
Police intelligence showed that Lassoued was a recruiter for ISIS, and was a former negotiator for ISIS for local government officials in Syria and Turkey.
It was also believed he is an ISIS commander at the Syria-Turkey border.
However, government prosecutors dismissed the complaint in March due to insufficiency of evidence.
“Despite the dismissal of the criminal complaint, we saw that Lassoued definitely violated Philippine immigration laws, which prompted us to assume jurisdiction over his case so he may be subjected to deportation proceedings,” Morente said.
He added that the Egyptian was found guilty of misrepresentation for submitting false information in his application for a working visa, for using an altered Tunisian passport, and for being an undesirable alien due to his alleged terrorist links.
An official of the BI anti-terrorist group said Lassoued’s declared employer in his working visa application was found to be fictitious and that his Tunisian passport was fraudulently altered.
He was likewise discovered to be using several aliases including Haytham/Haytam Abdulhamid Yusof, Haitam Abdel Hamid Ahmed Youssef, and Youssef Haitham Abdelhamid.