A suspected former commander of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was deported by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) nearly eight months after he was arrested by military and police authorities in Manila for being an alleged recruiter of the international terrorist group.
Egyptian national Fehmi Lassoued, 33, was flown out of the country last October 6 aboard a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok en route to his final destination in Cairo where he was later taken into government custody.
Reports from the PNP said that Lassoued was a recruiter for ISIS, and was a former negotiator for ISIS for local government officials in Syria and Turkey. He is also believed to be an ISIS commander at the Syria-Turkey border. However, government prosecutors dismissed the complaint in March due to insufficiency of evidence.
The BI said Lassoued was expelled pursuant to a deportation order that was issued against him by the BI Board of Commissioners last September 6 for violation of the Philippine Immigration Act. Said deportation order likewise directed his inclusion on the BI blacklist to prevent him from re-entering the country.
It can be recalled that complaints were filed against Lassoued and his Filipino girlfriend upon their arrest last February after the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army allegedly found a gun, several improvised explosives, an ISIS flag and maps with drawings of the group’s probable operational plans.
“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. As a result, he remained in detention until he was deported,” the BI said.
It was learned 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.
Records also revealed that Lassoued’s declared employer in his working visa petition 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. Previous media reports also refer to him as John Rasheed Lassoned.