UK police prepare for release of 40 convicted terrorists over the next year

There was another terror attack in London last Sunday. Sudesh Amman stabbed two people before police shot him dead. He had previously been convicted of terrorism related offenses and, per the current law in Britain, was released after serving just half of his sentence. That release happened just over a week before the knife attack. Authorities knew Amman hadn’t been rehabilitated in prison and had him under surveillance from the moment he left prison to the time of the attack:

Sudesh Amman, 20, was placed under full surveillance from a unit of 30 officers on the day of his release from Belmarsh prison and within days prompted such concern from counter-terrorism officials that those tailing him were ordered to be armed.

In prison he had declined to engage in programmes to manage his risk, and his behaviour during his sentence for terrorist offences following a 2018 conviction caused concern.

One source with knowledge of the Amman case said: “He was as much a problem when he came out of prison as when he went in.”

Today, the Times of London reported there are 40 more convicted terrorists scheduled to be released over the next year and offered a list describing some of them:

Counterterrorism police and the security services have been preparing for the release of about 40 convicted terrorists over the next 12 months after two knife attacks by recently freed extremists…

Atiq Ahmed: next month
The Islamist from Oldham, Greater Manchester, has been convicted three times for terrorism offences. He was first jailed for two years and six months over terrorist material. After his release he received a suspended sentence after telling a school teacher they were an “infidel”. In 2018 he was jailed over possession of terrorist material.

Mohammed Khilji: next month
The teenager from Brent, northwest London, shared clips in which soldiers were beheaded by Isis. He posed with a knife in front of an Isis flag and another photo had the message “going kaffur hunting”. He was jailed for five years in June 2018.

Jamshed Javeed: next month
Plotted to join Islamic State in Syria and was jailed for six years in 2015 for preparing acts of terrorism. The earliest he could be released is next month.

Members of Parliament are rushing to pass legislation preventing the early release of convicted terrorists, but it’s going to be close:

The government will publish emergency laws to end the automatic early release of terrorists halfway through their sentences on Tuesday. They hope to clear all stages in the Commons before recess on February 13.

They then plan to push the legislation through the Lords after recess and gain royal assent by February 27. One convicted terrorist is due to be released the next day, and five more are due for release in March.

Of course, even if these convicts serve their entire sentences, most of them will still be out in a few years. The real problem is that it’s not easy to deradicalize people who have adopted extremist views.

Usman Khan, the terrorist who carried out a very similar knife attack last November had been previously touted as a success story for Learning Together, the rehabilitation program he participated in. Obviously he hadn’t really changed. And, unfortunately, that’s likely to be true for some of the other soon-to-be-released radicals as well.