Emergency terror law to be presented to British Parliament

Published By ITCT News Desk On : February 11, 2020
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Emergency legislation designed to end the release of people convicted of terrorism offences halfway through their sentence is to be presented to the British Parliament.

The measures – which would apply to England, Scotland and Wales – were drawn up after the attack in Streatham, south London, earlier this month.

BBC reports:

The government wants the measures to become law by the end of the month.

MPs will consider all stages of the bill on Wednesday, before the Commons goes into recess on Thursday.

The aim is to prevent the 28 February release of Mohammed Zahir Khan, who is the next convicted terrorist due to be freed after serving half his sentence for encouraging terrorism.

Under the government’s proposals, people given a fixed or determinate sentence for a terror-related offence would be freed only with the agreement of the Parole Board – and after serving at least two-thirds of their term.

However, ministers have been warned they face a legal battle over the plans.

While the idea of involving the Parole Board in decisions has generally been welcomed, concerns have been raised about sentencing changes being applied retrospectively.

After convicted terrorist Usman Khan’s attack at Fishmongers’ Hall last November, Mr Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: “You cannot retrospectively change the basis on which someone is… sentenced.”

The bill would affect about 50 prisoners who were convicted under existing rules, which allow for release halfway through a sentence.

Lawyers for some of the inmates are believed to be preparing a legal challenge, although ministers claim they are not extending sentences, merely changing the way they are administered.

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