Ex­trem­ist preacher Choudary to be freed

The Observer - - News - Jamie Doward

An­jem Choudary, the leader of the banned ex­trem­ist group al-Muha­jiroun, which has in­spired a num­ber of Bri­tons to join Isis, is set to be re­leased from prison this week.

Choudary is one of about a dozen jailed rad­i­cals who are due out in the com­ing months, spark­ing con­cerns about the de­mands this will place on the po­lice and the se­cu­rity ser­vices.

Choudary has served half of a five and-a-half year prison sen­tence handed down in 2016 for “invit­ing sup­port of a ter­ror group” and is now en­ti­tled to au­to­matic pa­role.

The Ob­server has been told that, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of his re­lease, pen­cilled in for this Wed­nes­day, he is be­ing moved from Fran­k­land prison in County Durham to Bel­marsh high se­cu­rity jail in Lon­don.

He is ex­pected to be es­corted by po­lice to a half­way house where he will be read his li­cence con­di­tions af­ter which a de­ci­sion will be taken on whether he can re­turn to his home.

But this could prove prob­lem­atic. A panic alarm is ex­pected to be fit­ted at his prop­erty as he is as­sessed to be at risk from far-right ac­tivists who will see him as a tar­get.

“It’s a bal­ance be­tween keep­ing the com­mu­nity safe from him and keep­ing him safe from vig­i­lantes,” said Harry Fletcher, a pro­ba­tion ex­pert.

Upon re­lease, Choudary, who is be­lieved to have rad­i­calised scores of fol­low­ers, will be sub­ject to strin­gent re­stric­tions which, if vi­o­lated, will see him re­turned to prison.

He will be barred from trav­el­ling abroad without per­mis­sion, his use of the in­ter­net and ac­cess to mosques will be lim­ited, and he will be sub­ject to pe­ri­odic vis­its from po­lice of­fi­cers.

But some ex­perts on rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion ques­tioned whether these mea­sures will be suf­fi­cient in Choudary’s case. “He doesn’t be­lieve that the law has any power or ju­ris­dic­tion over him,” said Haras Rafiq, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Qul­liam, the counter-ex­trem­ism or­gan­i­sa­tion. “He’s not been de-rad­i­calised: I don’t think he ever will be.”

An­jem Choudary is be­lieved to have rad­i­calised scores of fol­low­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.