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EXCLUSIVE: Far right extremist converted to radical islam after meeting Streatham terror attacker in prison

March 15, 2020

A FAR right extremeist who quickly converted to Islam after meeting Streatham terror attacker Sudesh Faraz Amman (pictured above) and other Jihadis in jail is being detained in prison beyond his release date amid fears he could carry out a copycat strike.

The 18-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and is known only as X, was due for early release later this month after serving half of an 18-month detention and training order at Belmarsh Prison.

It was after he was convicted of encouraging far right terror attacks online. 

Last month the Government introduced a new law to block the automatic early release of those with terrorist convictions, with offenders only let out once the Parole Board has deemed it safe.

CONVERT: X was groomed by Jihadis in Belmarsh Prison (Justice.gov.uk) 

However, because it was a detention and training order, the extension of X's time in custody followed an emergency court application by Justice Secretary Robert Buckland and the Parole Board will not be involved.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard from Robert Davis, Belmarsh's chief governor, who said he was due for release on Wednesday, March 18, but that events since the Streatham attack on February 2 "had led probation and the prison service to revisit their view of the risk X posed to the public."

On February 2, Amman, who was being tailed by a team of counter terror police after his early release from the prison, grabbed a knife from a shop in Streatham High Road and stabbed two bystanders, who were injured,  before he was shot dead by police.

He was wearing a fake suicide vest.

The court heard a panel of experts thought the risks he posed increased considerably since the attack, despite him behaving well inside prison.

But, the court heard X was associating with a prisoner who practiced radical Islam and had known Amman before he was released and went onto carry out the attacks.

Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot wrote in her judgement: "X was upset by his (Amman's) death and did not believe he was a bad person.

"X asked to leave work to pray for his friend after he was killed by the police... he may have increased his technical knowledge of evading law enforcement while in prison and may present a threat to the public upon release.

"X had been a far-right extremist before he converted to Islam, this change took place very suddenly. X is vulnerable and has a strong need for an identity and to feel a sense of belonging, he needed excitement or adventure and the index offence occurred at a period of transition for him between GCSEs and A-levels. 

"This had led to his extreme right-wing views. The intelligence that he might now hold an extreme Islamist faith was concerning particularly as he might then find a peer group which holds extreme views and want to belong to this new group to give him a sense of identity. 

"There was a concern expressed by a psychologist that X may be drawn to a group which might cause him to do something significantly more serious that the index offence. The concern is that he is continuing to search for his identity and the speed of his conversion shows marked similarities to his behaviour that led to his right-wing terrorism offence."

X's lawyer argued the prison intelligence was weak evidence and should not be relied on by the court to extend custody.

Judge Arbuthnot said: "I have given some weight to the intelligence, it would have been helpful to have more detail, but it is the combination of the intelligence along with other factors which is striking.

"X’s views have veered from one extreme to another, he has a deep seated psychological need to feel part of a group, there is the intelligence that he is a risk to the public and has been in contact with Sudesh Faraz. "

The court heard the London Bridge terror attack last November, and an attack on prison guards by two Jihadi prisoners in HMP Whitemoor in January were also factors.

She added: "There is a very recent pattern of young men being released from custody (or serving) committing terrorist offences before they are themselves killed.

"I bear in mind the principal aims of the youth justice system which is to prevent offending. I also must bear in mind the welfare of X."

She said he had to remain anonymous as he is called as a vulnerable person.

Yet, she only delayed the release for two months to give the prison and probation service time to try to mitigate the risks.

He will be put on a desistance and disengagement plan with a mentor and possibly a specialised counter-terrorism Imam plus support from trained psychologists and probation officers. 

 

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