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Sat, 4 April 2020

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Emergency law to prevent early release of terrorists wins House of Lords backing

Emergency law to prevent early release of terrorists wins House of Lords backing
2 min read

Emergency legislation to block the automatic early release of convicted terrorists will become law by the end of this week after being rushed through Parliament.


The House of Lords approved the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill on Monday night, after MPs had voted in favour of it in the Commons earlier this month.

It is now due to get Royal Assent by Friday, when the next terror offender was due to be freed under the current legislation.

The bill was brought forward in the wake of the stabbings in Streatham, south London, last month by Sudesh Amman, who had recently been released from jail.

And it comes after the perpetrator of the killings at Fishmonger Hall last year, Usman Khan, had been released on license after serving half of his sentence for terror offences.

It is understood the new law will affect around 50 prisoners, and will make sure terrorist offenders serve at least two-thirds of their sentence before they are considered eligible for release.

Sunderland shopkeeper Mohammed Zahir Khan, will no longer be allowed to go free at the end of this week after serving half of his sentence for encouraging terrorism.

His release will not take place until it is approved by a panel of specialist judges and psychiatrists at the Parole Board, who will assess whether he remains a danger to the public.

Lawyers for some of the inmates due to be affected by the emergency legislation are believed to be preparing a legal challenge, but ministers have claimed the bill is legally sound as they are not changing people’s sentences, but just altering how it they are administered.

The new law received criticism from several peers before it being sent to the Lords, but it was given an unopposed second reading and passed committee stage unamended.

Speaking for the Government, Lord Keen acknowledged applying legislative measures retrospectively on offenders was an "unusual step”.

But he insisted the bill reflected the "unprecedented gravity of the situation" and the "danger posed to the public”.

It is now expected to get Royal Assent on Tuesday or Wednesday before being added to the statute book.

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