Government begins bid to rush through emergency terror legislation

pCloud Premium

Emergency terror legislation to stop around 50 terrorists being automatically released halfway through their sentences has been introduced in parliament.

The bill will ensure that terrorist offenders cannot be released early without what the government says is a “thorough risk assessment” from the Parole Board.

Those who are deemed to still be a threat to public safety will be forced to spend the rest of their sentence behind bars, ministers say.

London Bridge attacker Usman Khan and Streatham terrorist Sudesh Amman
Image: Streatham terrorist Sudesh Amman and London Bridge attacker Usman Khan were both released early

Lawyers have warned the government that the legislation could be subjected to legal challenges from those already in prison who were sentenced under the current rules.

The legislation will cover offenders sentenced for offences such as training for terrorism, membership of a proscribed organisation and the dissemination of terrorist publications.

It will end the current system of automatic halfway release for those who are handed standard determinate sentences, instead requiring them to spend a minimum of two-thirds of their term in prison.

Downing Street hopes to speed the legislation through parliament and pass it into law by the end of the month.

More from Streatham Terror Attack

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said MPs will consider all stages of the legislation on Wednesday.

It comes in the wake of the Streatham terror attack in south London earlier this month.

Sudesh Amman, 20, stabbed two people a week after being released halfway through his sentence for spreading extremist material.

Usman Khan, who killed two people in the London Bridge attack last year, was also released early.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said these attacks are a “stark reminder of the threat we continue to face from terrorism”.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as he delivers a speech at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, south east London on February 3, 2020. - Britain on Monday said it wanted a "thriving trade and economic relationship" with the European Union, as it set out its position for future trade talks after it left the bloc. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged: "We will not engage in some cut-throat race to the bottom. We are not leaving the EU to undermine European standards
PM: Few successes rehabilitating terrorists

“We are determined to ensure that dangerous terrorists are not free to spread their hateful ideologies or harm the public,” she said.

“We are already boosting funding for counter-terrorism police and victims of terrorism and this legislation will ensure terrorist offenders are not released early unless there has been a full assessment of the risks.”

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: “No dangerous terrorist should be released automatically only to go on to kill and maim innocent people on our streets.

“Enough is enough. This government will do whatever it takes to keep the public safe, including making sure no terror offender is released early without a thorough risk assessment by the Parole Board.”

The government wants to pass the bill by 27 February – the day before the next terrorist is expected to be freed under the current system.

Police forensic officers work at the scene in Streatham High Road, south London after a man was shot dead by armed officers, with police declaring the incident as terrorist-related. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 2, 2020. The Metropolitan Police said the shooting occurred at around 2pm on Streatham High Road on Sunday. The force believes there are also "two injured victims" from the incident and are awaiting updates on their condition. See PA story POLICE Streatham. Photo credit should
How the Streatham terror attack unfolded

Sunderland shopkeeper Mohammed Zahir Khan is due to be released on 28 February, it is understood.

He was imprisoned for four-and-a-half years in 2018 for sharing messages and material on social media supportive of Islamic State.

Around five other terrorists are expected to be released in March unless the new legislation is enacted.

But the legislation could be challenged in the courts.

Raj Chada, head of the criminal defence department and a partner at firm Hodge Jones & Allen, recently told the Press Association: “Lots of lawyers are looking at a challenge.

:: Listen to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

“In particular, there may be an argument that a change to existing clients who have already been sentenced would be contrary to Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

“You cannot create a new offence after an act has been committed, and you cannot impose a higher penalty than that would have been imposed at the time that the offence was committed.

“So, no punishment can be retroactive.”

Government begins bid to rush through emergency terror legislation in wake of Streatham attack

Emergency terror legislation to stop around 50 terrorists being automatically released halfway through their sentences will be introduced in parliament later. The bill will ensure that terrorist offenders cannot be released early without what the government says is a “thorough risk assessment” from the Parole Board.

pCloud Premium

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.