Emergency leglisation due to become law this week ahead of next terror prisoner's release

Emergency legislation to prevent the automatic release from prison of terrorist offenders will become law later this week just before the next terrorist prisoner is eligible to be freed.

Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 9:07 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 12:47 pm
Forensic officers at the scene on Monday, February 3, following the terror attack in Streatham High Road. Picture: PA.

The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill has cleared the Commons and was backed unamended in one sitting by peers.

The plans will affect around 50 prisoners and aim to make sure terrorist offenders serve two-thirds of their sentence before they are considered eligible for release.

Before being freed, they would need to be reviewed by a panel of specialist judges and psychiatrists at the Parole Board.

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General view at the scene following the terror attack in Streatham High Road, south London. Picture: PA.

The change follows the Streatham terror attack earlier this month when Sudesh Amman stabbed two bystanders with a knife he had grabbed from a shop.

The 20-year-old had previously been jailed in December 2018 for possessing and distributing terrorist documents. He was freed midway through his sentence less than a fortnight before the attack.

It was the second attack in three months by a convicted terrorist, after Usman Khan stabbed and killed two people at Fishmongers' Hall near London Bridge in November.

He had been released nearly a year earlier, halfway through a 16-year jail sentence.

The 40-year-old moved to Sunderland in 2013 from Birmingham to get away from the “gang members and crime” which were part of his previous lifestyle.

Despite cross-party criticism of the retrospective nature of the emergency legislation, the Bill was given an unopposed second reading in the Lords and passed its committee stage unamended.

For the Government, Lord Keen of Elie said Parliament must put a stop to arrangements that allowed a "dangerous terrorist to be released from prison by automatic process of law before the end of their sentence".