Extremist preacher Choudary to be freed
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.