May denies prison radicalisation is caused by staff shortages

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Home Secretary Theresa May has rejected claims that staff shortages are hindering efforts to prevent Islamic radicalisation in prisons – and has been supported in doing so by prison experts.
The former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office has warned that stretched resources are making it increasingly difficult to find the needle in a “growing haystack of extremists”.
Ex-detective chief inspector Chris Phillips told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “What we have actually is a prison population that’s growing.
“We have less officers generally in prisons than ever before and we also have less police officers to deal with them, so what we have is a growing haystack of extremists where we still have to find the single needle that’s going to go off and do something really nasty.
“But of course we’ve got less people to go and look for them as well so it’s a really difficult thing for the police service and prison service to deal with.”
Asked if a lack of prison officers was making the job harder, Mrs May told the programme: “I don’t think that is the problem.
“But what I think we do need to look at and continue to look at – and measures have been taken to be dealing with this – of course we need to continue looking at this issue of how we can ensure that radicalisation doesn’t take place in prisons.
“In prisons often it’s about being part of a gang, being part of a group, the group that perhaps has more members you join and you can get drawn into radicalisation although they don’t intend it in the first place.”
She went on: “The work that our security services, our law enforcement agencies, are doing day in and day out is of course working to identify those who would be trying to do something nasty, who would be planning an attack or about to carry out an attack.
“But it is constant. What we have seen over the last year is a significant increase in the number of disruptions that the police have undertaken, particularly of people potentially travelling to Syria.
“So we are constantly looking at what we need to do to defeat this radicalisation.”
Mark Leech editor of Converse, the national newspaper for prisons in England and Wales, questioned whether staffing numbers could really be an issue.
Mr Leech said: “There is a real problem with radicalisation in prisons, which the Prison Service has responded to, but the real danger of radicalisation occurs where long term prisoners, often convicted or connected to terrorism, are able to mix freely with others – serving long sentences, disillusioned, and often far from home.
“Those circumstances take place in our high security prisons which have, for the most part, not suffered from staffing cuts in a real sense and are not overcrowded like other jails tend to be.”
Stephen O’Connell, president of the Prison Governors Association told Today: “I am not aware of any evidence that the issue has got worse over the last 12 months or that it has been affected by staff numbers or prisoner numbers.
“I’m not saying that that couldn’t be the case; I’m just not aware of any evidence that supports it.”
He went on: “Please don’t interpret what I’m saying as ‘there isn’t a problem’; I’m just not aware that its got worse because of the changes in staffing.
“I understand the correlation between staff numbers and prisoner numbers but when it comes to dealing with extremists, we are talking about a small number of prisoners with some very dedicated resources to actually managing those.”

‘Jihadi John’ family costing taxpayer £5000+ a day

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The family of Mohammed Emwazi are being guarded by armed police in a security operation costing more than £5,000 a day after being moved to a secret location funded by the taxpayer, The Times has reported.

His mother, brother and three of his sisters fled the family home in northwest London two weeks ago when they realised that journalists had identified Emwazi as “Jihadi John”, the Islamic State killer.

Officers from Scotland Yard’s counterterrorism command are providing round-the-clock security amid reports that Emwazi’s mother, Ghaneya, immediately recognised her son when she watched a documentary about the beheading of James Foley, an American journalist.

The family have been receiving an estimated £40,000 a year in benefits since they sought asylum in London in 1993.

When the family realised their son’s identity was about to be exposed they left their £600,000 flat in St John’s Wood, where their rent is paid by City of Westminster Council. They moved to a property in Paddington, west London, close to the families of other jihadists fighting in Syria.

However, the location was discovered when Emwazi’s brother, Omar, 21, was spotted by a television crew. The family were moved to a new location, which is believed to be a hotel, where they are living under assumed names.

Emwazi’s mother and brother are staying with his sisters Asra, 19, and Shayma, 23, both students, and a 12-year-old sister who is still at school. His father, Jasem, 51, and sister Asma, 25, are in Kuwait.

None of Emwazi’s family are suspected of wrongdoing but police are believed to be questioning them about their contact with him since he moved to Syria and his network of friends while in London. Jasem Emwazi has reportedly told security officials in Kuwait that he and his wife knew their son had travelled to Syria and recognised him from Islamic State propaganda videos.

Philip Davies, a Tory MP, said many members of the public would be angry that the family were receiving such expensive protection but said the police were in an “impossible position”. He said: “I understand why people would find it offensive that all these resources are being deployed but at the same time if the police have information that the family is at risk, they have a duty to provide protection. They are not responsible for [Emwazi’s] actions.”

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman refused to discuss what security arrangements were in place for the family.

Emwazi’s father insisted yesterday there was no proof that his son was the Islamic State murderer — days after apparently denouncing him as a terrorist. Mr Emwazi issued a statement in Kuwait threatening legal action against anyone connecting his family to the Isis killer, who has appeared in videos of five beheadings. Friends of the family said that Mr Emwazi had moved close relatives into a safe house in the Gulf state and was in hiding because of “lies” about them in the press.

Mr Emwazi said through his lawyer: “I am not sure that [Jihadi John] is my son. There is no proof that the man shown in the videos and photographs is my son, as the media has reported in the last few days.”

Security sources in Kuwait said British police were expected to interview Mr Enwazi, who has a UK passport. The father’s denial contradicts reports that the family were devastated after a call from Emwazi, telling them he was heading to Syria.

Mr Emwazi reportedly denounced his son to colleagues this week as “a dog” and “a terrorist” whom he could no longer control.

Security experts have compared recordings of Emwazi’s voice from 2009 to that of the killer in the videos and are convinced they are the same man.

Terrorist Inmate Wins Go-ahead For Category A Review

Tanvir Hussain
Tanvir Hussain

One of three men serving life for a plot to blow up liquid bombs on flights from the UK to North America has won permission to challenge his designation as a “high escape risk” prisoner.

Tanvir Hussain was given the go-ahead by a High Court judge to apply for judicial review against Justice Secretary Chris Grayling on the grounds that there was unfairness in the risk assessment process.

His QC argued the fact that Hussain maintained contact with other prisoners jailed for terrorism offences did not necessarily mean he was high risk.

Currently held at Long Lartin Prison in Worcestershire, the high risk assessment has remained in place since his arrest in August 2006.

It involves significant intrusion into his daily life, including being woken at night due to hourly checks, the judge heard.

Hussain, from Leyton, east London, was ordered to serve a minimum 32 years in jail when sentenced in September 2009 for being involved in a conspiracy to murder by planning to destroy seven trans-Atlantic aircraft.

Hussain, then aged 28, was convicted at Woolwich Crown Court along with Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 28, and Assad Sarwar, 29, of conspiring to activate bombs disguised as drinks.

The plot was disrupted in August 2006 when the men were arrested. The discovery of the cell, which was based in London and High Wycombe, was described by counter-terrorism officials as an al-Qaida-inspired suicide mission.

It led to restrictions being imposed on the liquids that travellers can take in their hand luggage.

Trial judge Mr Justice Henriques said the aim of the plotters was a terrorist outrage to “stand alongside” the 9/11 attacks on the US.

The latest decision to continue treating Hussain as a high escape risk prisoner – the middle ranking risk for Category A prisoners – was taken in July this year.

High Court judge Mr Justice Ouseley said Hussain had played “a substantial part in a wicked conspiracy”.

But he went on to rule there were arguable grounds for allowing his judicial review application to go to a full hearing.

Hugh Southey QC said the key reason given for the July 22 decision was Hussain’s continued contacts with other terrorist prisoners.

That was viewed as indicating he was maintaining the ideologies which motivated his offending.

The QC submitted it was obvious that his association did not necessarily mean that he was a high escape risk, and it was the “nature of the association” that mattered.

Hussain had made representations saying all associations were entirely innocent. He had been told those representations would be considered.

But the July decision against him did not address those representations or provide adequate reasons, argued Mr Southey.

A high standard of procedural fairness was required when escape risk was assessed, including disclosure of the information taken into account by the decision maker.

He contended that full information on the case suggested that Hussain posed a low risk.

Mark Leech editor of the national prisons newspaper Converse (www.markleech.com) said a ‘high’ escape risk assessment was only one of three risk levels that were capable of being imposed under the Category A regime.

Mr Leech said: “Most Category A prisoners are ‘Standard Risk’ which means escape would pose a significant threat to the public or national security – but where they neither have the contacts nor the planning ability to carry it out.

“‘High Risk’ is imposed where it is felt that the person concerned has contacts with people, and therefore access to possible resources, by which an escape could become a possibility.

“Finally, ‘Exceptional risk’ is imposed where there is creditable evidence or intelligence that a Category A prisoner is actively planning an escape attempt – this hapened two years ago to cop killer David Bieber who was flown by helicopter during the night from one maximum security prison to another when evidence of an escape plot came to life.”

Core of terrorisim trial to be held in secret

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The core of a terrorism trial must be held in secret so that justice can be done, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Three judges found the course was justified in the “exceptional” case of Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar, who are to face charges at the Old Bailey on June 16.

Lord Justice Gross, sitting with Mr Justice Simon and Mr Justice Burnett, said: “The rule of law is a priceless asset of our country and a foundation of our constitution. One aspect of the rule of law – both a hallmark and a safeguard – is open justice, which includes criminal trials being held in public and the publication of the names of defendants.

“open justice is both a fundamental principle of the common law and a means of ensuring public confidence in our legal system; exceptions are rare and must be justified on the facts.

“Any such exceptions must be necessary and proportionate. No more than the minimum departure from open justice will be countenanced.”

He said that c onsiderations of national security, which was itself a national interest of the first importance and the raison d’etre of the security and intelligence agencies, would not by themselves justify a departure from the principle of open justice.

“open justice must, however, give way to the yet more fundamental principle that the paramount object of the court is to do justice; accordingly, where there is a serious possibility that an insistence on open justice in the national security context would frustrate the administration of justice, for example, by deterring the Crown from prosecuting a case where it otherwise should do so, a departure from open justice may be justified.”

He added: “This case is exceptional. We are persuaded on the evidence before us that there is a significant risk – at the very least a serious possibility – that the administration of justice would be frustrated were the trial to be conducted in open court; for what appears to be good reason on the material we have seen the Crown might be deterred from continuing with the prosecution.”

The judges were ruling on a challenge by media organisations against an “unprecedented” decision by Mr Justice Nicol that the trial should take place entirely in private with the identity of both defendants withheld and a permanent prohibition on reporting what took place during it and their identities.

They concluded that, while ” as a matter of necessity”, the core of the trial must be heard in camera, the swearing-in of the jury, the reading of the charges, part of the judge’s introductory remarks, at least part of the prosecution opening, the verdicts and – if applicable – any sentencing would be in public.

And, they said they were not persuaded that there was a risk to the administration of justice warranting the anonymisation of the defendants, who were previously known only as AB and CD,

Lord Justice Gross said: “We express grave concern as to the cumulative effects of holding a criminal trial in camera and anonymising the defendants.

“We find it difficult to conceive of a situation where both departures from open justice will be justified. Suffice to say, we are not persuaded of any such justification in the present case.”

He added that one issue canvassed before Mr Justice Nicol was whether a small number of “accredited journalists” might be invited to attend the bulk of the trial – subject to being excluded when a small number of matters were discussed – on terms which compelled confidentiality until review at the conclusion of the trial and any further order.

“The judge was not persuaded, essentially on grounds of practicality. We respectfully disagree. The arrangements can be agreed or can be dealt with in our order, if need be, following further brief argument.

“Any breach would obviously carry the likelihood of severe sanctions and, as has been observed on previous occasions, reliance must be placed on the responsibility of the media.”

A spokesman for the Attorney General said later: “The principle of open justice is key to the British legal system and trials will always be held in public unless there are very strong reasons for doing otherwise.

“The measures applied for by the CPS in this case were, they believed, justified in order for the trial to proceed and for the defendants to hear the evidence against them while protecting national security.

“We are pleased that the court recognised the strength of some of these arguments, and that the case can go ahead. The CPS has indicated it accepts the judgment of the court, and will tailor its approach to the prosecution accordingly.”

Incedal is charged with an offence contrary to section 5, Terrorism Act 2006 (preparation of terrorist acts) and an offence contrary to section 58, Terrorism Act 2000 (collection of information).

Rarmoul-Bouhadjar is charged with an offence contrary to section 58, Terrorism Act 2000 (collection of information) and an offence contrary to section 4, Identity Documents Act 2010 (possession of false identity documents etc with improper intention).

Isabella Sankey, director of policy for Liberty, said: “The judges are clear that open justice is a priceless foundation of our system and faced with a blacked-out trial we now have a few vital chinks of light.

“But their wholesale deference to vague and secret ministerial ‘national security’ claims is worrying. Shutting the door on the core of a criminal trial is a dangerous departure from our democratic tradition.”

Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, said: “I welcome the Court of Appeal judgment which has confirmed that the cloak of secrecy of the scale proposed is not acceptable. There may be exceptional circumstances that warrant parts of cases being held in secret, but to do so for an entire case would have been unprecedented.

“The Court of Appeal had all the facts of this particular case at their disposal and have ordered that parts of it could and should be held in the open. This judgment is a victory for the precious open and transparent nature of our justice system and public confidence will be enhanced as a result.”

Rising numbers of Prison Muslims are “fuelling extremism”

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Rising numbers of prisoners are becoming ‘convenience Muslims’ leading to heightened tensions with guards and fuelling extremism, the head of the Prison Officers’ Association has warned.

Union general secretary Steve Gillan said that many prisoners were turning to Islam to win benefits, and to gain the status associated with being part of a gang.

He said prison staff were coming under threat from groups of Muslims on a daily basis, and warned that young prisoners were at risk of being radicalised while behind bars.

In 1991 there were 1,957 Muslims serving prison sentences in England and Wales, but numbers had risen to 11,683 by 2013.

Mr Gillan said that many converts, who are known as ‘convenience Muslims’, changed faiths because it meant they were entitled to more time outside of their cells and offered better food.

Muslim prisoners are also excluded from work and education on Fridays so they can attend prayers.

Mr Gillan said that others wanted the status and security of being part of a particular group while in prison, and that it was relatively common for prisoners to leave Islam upon their release.

‘Some people also believe that it is better to have a cult status and belong to a particular gang

‘What we’ve got to guard against is the real threat of the extremists and the radicalisation of young, disaffected prisoners,’ Mr Gillan told The Times. ‘They are the extremists of tomorrow.’

Mr Gillan’s comments came as two Muslim prisoners who were already serving life sentences for murder were found guilty of making threats to kill an officer during a siege at HMP Full Sutton, near York, in the days after the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

Feroz Khan and Fuad Awale, both 26, were convicted of threatening Richard Thompson, with Khan also found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm on the guard.

Both men, along with another prisoner, David Watson, 27, had been accused of holding Mr Thompson hostage on May 26 last year, and demanding the release of radical preacher Abu Qatada and Roshonara Choudhry, a student who attempted to stab MP Stephen Timms to death in 2010.

They were also accused of demanding to be flown to Afghanistan, the jury heard.

However, they were cleared of the false imprisonment, and Khan was found not guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against another officer, Rachel Oxtoby.

The trial at the Old Bailey had heard that relations between prison staff and some of the Muslim inmates ‘became strained’ in the days after Fusilier Rigby was murdered.

The court was told that Khan had planned the attack after telling another guard that it was a Muslim’s duty to ‘fight until Sharia law is established in every country’.

Jury members also heard that Khan and Awale targeted Mr Thompson, believing him to be ex-British military, and that Khan had beaten the guard, fracturing his eye socket before threatening to kill him.

As Mr Thompson was pinned to his chair Awale pointed a sharp implement by his throat and said: ‘Stop struggling, I’ve killed two people – I’ll kill you’.

Khan had told jurors he planned to take a prison guard hostage in order to stage a high profile terrorist incident ‘perfectly timed’ with the murder of Drummer Rigby.

The convict claimed that he acted in the days after the soldier’s death so he could gain maximum media exposure.
He said he was in ‘constant fear’ of his life following a rise in tension on Echo Wing and that he felt threatened by prison staff and non-Muslim inmates in the wake of the Woolwich murder.

Khan, Awale and Watson were all serving life sentences for murder at the time of the incident, and all three had become devout Muslims following their convictions.

On February 26, 2007, Khan shot his friend Skander Rehman in the back of the head at point blank range after luring him to a park in Bradford – wrongly believing he was having an affair with his wife.

Somali-born Awale was convicted in Janurary last year of the double murder of two teenagers, Mohammed Abdi Farah, 19, and Amin Ahmed Ismail, 18, who were shot in a Milton Keynes drug war on May 26, 2011.

Watson, a white Muslim convert, stabbed to death a security guard at a HMV store in Norwich’s Chapelfield shopping centre after being caught with a stolen CD on December 18, 2006.

The drug dealer murdered Paul Cavanagh after fearing police would find £10,000 of crack cocaine he had in a carrier bag.

Khan and Awale were told they would be sentenced next week.

The Muslim prison population has increased since 2009 by nearly 1,500 – 550 of those in the last 12 months alone.

The court was told that one in three prisoners at Full Sutton are Muslim.

At Long Lartin in Worcestershire the proportion is 20 per cent and in Whitemoor, a top-security prison in Cambridgeshire, more than four in ten prisoners are Muslim.

In Belmarsh prison in London, which houses Lee Rigby murderers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, one in three inmates is a Muslim.

Mr Gillan said: ‘Incidents like that at Full Sutton are becoming more and more of a daily threat. Prison officers regularly raise issues about Muslim radicalism and the concerns they have about doing their jobs generally against [a backdrop of] gang culture.’

Rigby Killers: How They Were Drawn To Extremism

Here are profiles of Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.

Suspect Michael Adebolajo Michael Adebolajo

Michael Adebolajo horrified millions of people by appearing on camera with bloodied hands clutching a knife and a meat cleaver moments after killing Lee Rigby.

The 29-year-old, who was raised as a Christian, became a committed Islamic extremist who tried to join jihadis in east Africa, and then brought terror to the streets of the UK.

In the shocking footage, he was seen ranting about how Muslims in other countries had to witness similar horrors to that which he and Michael Adebowale had wreaked in south-east London.

Another film clip captured him charging towards police clutching a knife and a meat cleaver, and flying through the air after he was shot by the embattled marksmen.

Giving evidence in court, he only showed emotion when talking about his religious beliefs, but remained calm when describing his chilling attempts to decapitate Fusilier Rigby.

He told jurors that he had converted to Islam in 2002 or 2003, when he was a student at the University of Greenwich, and chose to take the name Mujahid Abu Hamza.

Adebolajo said he wanted to be called Mujahid, meaning fighter, after he learned “how much Allah loves the mujahideen”.

He was born to Nigerian parents at King’s College Hospital in south-east London on December 10 1984, and later went to Marshalls Park School in Romford, east London, where he made friends with Kirk Redpath, who went on to become a Lance Corporal in the British Army and was killed in an explosion in Iraq.

Adebolajo told jurors that most of his friends growing up were white British, and that he blamed Tony Blair for Mr Redpath’s death.

His nurse father Anthony and social worker mother Tina had tried to dissuade him away from the clutches of Islamic extremism, but in 2010 he was arrested in Kenya, apparently trying to get to Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

Adebolajo said he wanted to get to the African country so that he could live under Sharia law.

His friend Abu Nusaybah claimed that Adebolajo was asked to work for the British security services after he was caught, and Adebolajo told police that MI5 had visited his home.

The Commons Intelligence and Security Committee is looking at what security services knew about the suspects before the murder, and is expected to make at least some parts of its findings public.

In police interview and throughout his court appearances he rambled on about his political and religious motivations.

Before his defence case began, a hearing took place to establish ground rules for what would happen in court, to try to stop him using the Old Bailey as his soap box.

Mr Justice Sweeney told his barrister David Gottlieb: “In the light of what we all saw in the (police) interviews what needs to be clearly understood is that in the court arena at least a question is not a cue for a speech, it’s a cue for an answer.”

Adebolajo was held at high security Belmarsh prison after he was charged with the murder of Fusilier Rigby, and there he claimed that he was attacked by a group of prison officers, and lost his front teeth when they put him under restraint.

Five members of prison staff were suspended after the incident, but the Prison Officers’ Association insisted that only approved restraint techniques had been used.

 

Michael-Adebowale Michael Adebowale

Michael Adebowale attacked three police officers in his first 24 hours in custody, it can now be reported.

The 22-year-old, who was confronted by courageous “Woolwich Angel” Ingrid Loyau-Kennett in the aftermath of Fusilier Rigby’s murder, was said to be “very unpredictable” when held by police.

As a teenager, he was victim of a knife attack in which his best friend was killed, and he told psychiatrists that he was haunted by the voices of his would-be killers.

He was discharged from hospital six days after Fusilier Rigby’s murder, and was formally charged on May 29, appearing in court for the first time the next day.

There the rare step was taken of allowing him to be handcuffed while in the dock because of the risk to police, prison and security officers.

It emerged that he had attacked three police officers in 24 hours. The first incident was when he was in his cell picking out his stitches, and when a police officer came in to stop him, he punched him in the face with his right hand.

Then when he was interviewed for the first time, he spat in an officer’s face; and in a third incident he spat in a glass of water and threw it in a police officer’s face.

While in prison he told psychiatrist Dr Neil Boast that he would hear voices in the morning for about 10 minutes.

The medic described: “People he doesn’t know and people who took part in an assault on him when he was injured and a friend was killed. He hears people he doesn’t know speaking in a Nigerian accent about him.”

Experts said he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after being a victim of the knife attack at the age of 16. Police said he was “quite a troubled young man” who had gone missing from home more than once.

Former bare-knuckle fighter Lee James was found guilty of murdering 18-year-old Faridon Alizada in 2008 at a flat in Erith, south east London, and wounding Adebowale and another 16-year-old friend.

Adebowale, who was known as Tobi, was the son of Juliet Obasuyi, reportedly a probation officer, and his father Adeniyi, who works for the Nigerian High Commission.

He was raised as a Christian in south east London, and went to school in Kidbrooke. As he moved into his teens, he became involved in drugs and was linked to the Woolwich Boys gang – as was Adebolajo.

His concerned mother appealed for her friend Richard Taylor, the father of tragic Damilola who was killed at the age of 10 in a knife attack, to mentor her son, but he later fell into extremism.

Mr Taylor said that he was “terribly shocked” to see him involved in the brutality, having spoken to him only two months before the murder, but that he felt there was nothing that could have changed the 22-year-old.

In an interview with ITV News, he said: “Having seen how my own son was stabbed to death, it made me feel that…at the end of whatever happens, they will still be alive, they will still be on the street or maybe they will take them away from the public and go and change their faces. They don’t deserve to live.”

Adebowale, who asked to be called Ismail Ibn Abdullah in court, ultimately chose not to give evidence and refused to explain his horrific actions to the jury or Fusilier Rigby’s family.

BBC Panorama has obtained footage of Adebowale speaking at a demonstration associated with radical preacher Anjem Choudary.

The event took place outside St Paul’s Cathedral in central London and both Choudary and Adebowale were in attendance.

The never-before-seen footage shows Adebowale publicly embracing extreme Islamist views.

He is heard saying: “You talk about Britain, talk about there being a problem in Britain. Islam is going to take over the whole world, you can see it. It’s coming, inevitably, even if you hate it.

“In Somalia we see that there was a few people who rose up to establish Islamic law, and what happened?

“America came and dropped bombs on their heads and then after they dropped bombs on their children’s heads, on their mothers’ heads, on their wives’ heads and innocent people.

“The prophet said if you see an evil, like, change it with your hand if you can do so; if you cannot do so then speak out against it, and if you cannot do that then hate in your heart.”

Choudary denies meeting Adebowale there or organising the event – although his mobile number is on the web poster.

He told Panorama he was unaware that Adebolawe had been at the protest which he attended.

Lee Rigby Murderers Sentenced Today

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale
Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale

Wednesday February 26, 2014.

Sentencing was delayed by Mr Justice Sweeney to allow time for a specially-constituted court to decide if “whole-life” tariffs can still be handed to criminals who have committed the very worst of crimes. Mr Justice Sweeney’s move was a clear signal that a whole-life order – that is, sentenced to life in prison with no minimum term or chance for a Parole Board review – was firmly on the table for at least one of the defendants.

It is still down to Mr Justice Sweeney to decide if a whole-life term is appropriate. Last week, a panel of five judges, including the most senior judge in England and Wales,

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, declared that sentencing judges can continue to impose whole-life tariffs. The guidance comes in the wake of a decision by the European Court of Human Rights last year in an appeal by three murderers.

More follows…

Muslim prisoners ‘injured’ after refusing to join Muslim prison gang

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An increasing number of Muslim inmates complain they are being intimidated to join the Muslim Brotherhood, a prison gang, and some have received injuries following a refusal to do so.

Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said he was aware of an ‘increasing number of complaints’ from Muslim prisoners in the High Security prison estate who claim to have been intimidated to join the prison-based ‘Muslim Brotherhood’.

Mr Leech said: “Radicalisation of Muslims in the High Security Estate is nothing new and the existence of the Muslim Brotherhood is equally well-known, what I find disturbing is that I have seen an increasing number of Muslim inmates and their families complaining that their loved ones are being intimidated into joining this group and some have received injuries, perhaps unconnected with their refusal, after persistently declining to join.

“One firm of personal injury solicitors I am in touch with confirm they act for a Muslim inmate seriously injured in Full Sutton prison after he continually refused to join the Full Sutton Muslim Brotherhood – unusually and perhaps of significance is the fact that prison staff at HMP Full Sutton have given evidence supporting his case.

“Prison gangs like the Muslim Brotherhood can feed on fear and perpetrate a belief that there is safety in numbers – we should not forget that the Prison Inspection report published in April 2013 on Full Sutton said:

We had two main areas of concern. First, the perceptions of black and minority ethnic prisoners and Muslim prisoners about many aspects of their treatment and conditions were much more negative than for white and non-Muslim prisoners. For example, significantly fewer told us staff treated them with respect and significantly more said they felt unsafe.

“Treating all prisoners with respect and equality is the challenge for the management of Full Sutton, a Maximum Security prison which in so many other respects has shown itself well able to rise to difficult challenges and overcome them – and on this important one it must not be allowed to fail.”

Lee Rigby Accused Released From Hospital

Michael Adebowale
Michael Adebowale

One of the men shot by police in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby has been discharged from hospital, Scotland Yard said.

The 22-year-old, understood to be Michael Adebowale, from Greenwich, south-east London, was taken into custody at a police station in south London.

He was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Drummer Rigby on May 22, and was further arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer. He will now be interviewed by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command.

Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo, 28, have been recovering in hospital after they were both shot by armed police in the immediate aftermath of Drummer Rigby’s murder.

The young soldier was hacked to death near Woolwich barracks in south-east London last Wednesday, and since his death detectives have arrested 10 people. These include Adebowale and Adebolajo, as well as a 50-year-old man who was held in Welling, south-east London on Monday and is currently being questioned.

A 22-year-old man arrested in Highbury, north London, on Sunday, and three men detained on Saturday over the killing have all been released on bail, as has a fifth man, aged 29. Two women, aged 29 and 31, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder but later released without charge.

In the wake of the attack it emerged that Adebolajo and Adebowale were both known to MI5. Adebolajo was also arrested by Kenyan authorities three years ago because they feared he was attempting to join an al Qaida-linked militant group, the country’s anti-terrorism police said.

The murder has sparked a flurry of activity by far right group the English Defence League, and on Monday more than 1,000 supporters marched to Downing Street chanting “Muslim killers off our streets” and “There’s only one Lee Rigby” in tribute to the soldier.

A massive police presence kept them separate from a smaller group of anti-fascist activists, with officers making 13 arrests in total for a range of public order offences. Forces charity Help for Heroes announced it will not accept any donations raised by EDL leader Tommy Robinson or other members of the group, or any political party.

Police are now investigating two attacks by vandals on the RAF Bomber Command memorial and the Animals in War memorial in London. Both were daubed with graffiti and although the words written on the two memorials have now been covered up, it is thought “Islam” had been written on each of them.