x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UK introduces curbs on released militants

Document shows tight controls are now in place restricting where militants on parole can work and what mosques they can visit.

LONDON // Tough new provisions have been secretly introduced by the British government to control the behaviour of dozens of convicted terrorists after their release from prison.

At least 20 Islamist extremists who may pose a risk to the public have completed their sentences in UK prisons and been released. Another 26 will be eligible for parole in two years.

A classified ministry of justice document revealed yesterday by The Daily Telegraph shows that tight controls are now in place restricting where militants on parole can work and what mosques they can visit.

Some have also been banned from using computers and all are forbidden to associate with known criminals.

"There is now a small but significant number of terrorists being held in custody or managed on licence," the document says.

"This instruction ensures that processes to manage offenders who pose a risk of harm to the public, or whose cases pose complex management issues, are effectively configured to meet the challenges of managing terrorist offenders."

The ministry of justice guidance also warns that some convicted terrorists, most of whom have family ties to Pakistan, might try to work with Muslims susceptible to extremist ideologies.

Officials yesterday confirmed the existence of the document, titled "The Management of Critical Public Protection Cases and Terrorist or Terrorist Related Offenders", but would not comment on its contents.

A spokesman for the ministry of justice said: "It is entirely right and proper that the National Offender Management Service [NOMS] puts in place appropriate and robust licence conditions for those released under probation supervision, particularly serious and violent offenders.

"These licence conditions are based on rigorous risk assessments and the use of tight licence conditions is by no means unique to terrorist offenders.

Among those who have been released or are due for parole shortly are Khalid Khaliq, an associate of the 7/7 suicide bombers who killed 52 people on London's buses and trains in 2005; Mohammed Ajmal Khan, who was convicted of providing equipment and money to Lashkar-i-Taiba in Pakistan; and Abu Bakr Mansha, who was jailed for plotting to kill a British soldier. The most notorious extremist in a UK prison is Abu Hamza who, last week, won an appeal against a government bid to strip him of his UK passport.

An immigration tribunal ruled that Hamza, who is serving a seven-year sentence in Britain for inciting followers to murder non-believers, would be stateless if stripped of his UK citizenship because he had already had his Egyptian citizenship revoked.

In July, the European Court of Human Rights halted the Hamza's extradition to the US, where he is wanted on terrorist charges including setting up a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

dsapsted@thenational.ae