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1 Dec, 2019 09:40

Corbyn says terrorists should ‘not necessarily’ serve full term as parties spat over legislation that allowed jihadi out

Corbyn says terrorists should ‘not necessarily’ serve full term as parties spat over legislation that allowed jihadi out

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said that convicted terrorists should “not necessarily” serve their full prison sentences automatically, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to toughen up Britain’s sentencing laws.

The conflicting comments from the leaders of the UK’s major parties come as the country deals with the aftermath of Friday’s London Bridge terror attack, which left two members of the public dead.

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The attack was carried out by convicted terrorist Usman Khan, who was wearing an electronic tag after being released from prison early. The violent extremist had been jailed in 2012 for plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange and to build a terrorist training camp.

Speaking to Sky on Sunday, veteran peace campaigner Corbyn said people convicted of terrorism offences should “not necessarily” serve their full prison terms because it depended on the circumstances of their imprisonment.

He added that there were lessons to be learned from the incident and there should be a “full investigation” into the circumstances around Khan’s sentence and subsequent release.

The terrorist’s early release has sparked a row between Labour and the Conservatives over the practice of reducing jail terms, with each party laying the blame at the feet of its rival.

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“I think there has to be an examination of how our prison services work and, crucially, what happens to them on release from prison,” Corbyn said during Sunday’s interview.

The Labour leader called for an examination into whether violent offenders are being rehabilitated in prisons and also claimed the probation service had failed to monitor Khan after his release.

The remarks push back against Johnson’s assertion on Saturday that automatic early release must end and other laws must change to strengthen security.

“If you are convicted of a serious terrorist offence, there should be a mandatory minimum sentence of 14 years – and some should never be released,” the prime minister said.

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The father of Jack Merritt, one of the victims of Khan’s rampage, urged politicians not to enforce “draconian” sentences following his 25-year-old son’s death. “My son, Jack, who was killed in this attack, would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily,” David Merritt said on Twitter.

The judge that handed down Khan’s prison sentence in 2012 warned that he was a “serious jihadi” who should not be eligible for early release from prison.

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