In Brief

Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary set for early release

£2 million-a-year security monitoring operation the ‘most stringent ever placed on UK citizen’

Notorious Islamist hate preacher, Anjem Choudary, is to be subjected to the most stringent living conditions ever placed on a British citizen when he is released early from prison later this week.

Choudary, who was jailed for five-and-half years in 2016 after being caught swearing an oath of allegiance to Islamic State, becomes eligible for release on Wednesday after serving half his sentence and its likely to be released on Thursday.

He will, however, have to adhere to about 25 carefully drafted rules, intended to control every aspect of his daily life, and be subjected to a huge security monitoring operation expected to cost more than £2 million a year.

Choudary is one of about a dozen jailed radicals who are due out in the coming months, “sparking concerns about the demands this will place on the police and the security services” reports The Guardian.

One well-placed source said: “The rules will be so restrictive to prevent him having any contact with other extremists or vulnerable young men and women.”

Choudary’s former followers include Khuram Butt, part of the London Bridge terror cell which murdered eight people last June, and Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the killers of fusilier Lee Rigby back in 2013.

Before his conviction “Choudary had escaped justice for 20 years by 'staying within the law' while inspiring a generation of jihadis”, says The Sun.

In all, he has been linked to more than 15 terror plots dating back to 2000, “and there is mounting concern that his release will inspire a new generation of extremists”, says the Telegraph, while also being a target for far-right groups.

Under the terms of his release, he will be banned from preaching or attending certain mosques; only be allowed to associate with people give prior approval; be banned from using the internet unsupervised; be prohibited from travelling abroad without permission; and will only be allowed one mobile phone.

A panic alarm is also expected to be fitted at his property as he is assessed to be at risk from far-right activists who will see him as a target.

“It’s a balance between keeping the community safe from him and keeping him safe from vigilantes,” said Harry Fletcher, a probation expert.

“These are probably the most stringent conditions ever drafted for a prisoner being released on licence and any breach whatsoever will be enough to see him returned to prison” the source says.

But some radicalism experts have questioned whether these measures will be sufficient in Choudary’s case.

Haras Rafiq, chief executive of Qulliam, the counter-extremism organisation said: “He doesn’t believe that the law has any power or jurisdiction over him. He’s not been de-radicalised: I don’t think he ever will be.

“To his followers, now that he’s been in prison he’s seen as something of a martyr for the cause,” he added.

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