Jihadi who trained for terror attacks and planned to join Islamic State freed 19 months into his prison sentence
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- Ahmed Alsyed Ahmed Alsyed is a would-be jihadist who trained for terror attacks...[+]
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A would-be jihadist who trained for terror attacks and planned to join ISIS was handed early release from prison despite Government objections.
Parole chiefs cleared ISIS conscript Ahmed Alsyed, 22, to be let out of jail less than two years into his sentence after planning to travel to Syria.
The shock decision was made in November, 19 months after Sudan-born Alsyed was convicted of offences of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, possession of information relating to terrorist offences, and dissemination of a terrorist publication.
It has now emerged that a team of professionals, including a psychologist, a terrorist analyst, and an Imam, recommended he should be released.
Alsyed was released shortly before the London Bridge atrocity in which two people were killed by Usman Khan, and the Streatham stabbing committed by Sudesh Amman – both also released early.
Newly-published papers show that the Government appealed the decision, claiming it would be ‘irrational’ to release Alsyed back into society.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland argued that the parole panel had not carried out suitable risk assessments to ensure public safety.
He added that they had not taken Alsyed’s ‘deceptive behaviour’ into account.
But the appeal to the Parole Board of England and Wales was denied on December 30, just four weeks after the horrendous London Bridge attack.
Vice-chair John Saunders upheld the decision of parole chiefs two months before new legislation ended the automatic early release of terrorists.
The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Act 2020 was introduced to the House of Commons a week after the Streatham attack. It forces convicts to spend at least two-thirds of their term behind bars before being eligible for parole.
In his written decision, vice-chair John Saunders ruled: ‘The assessment of risk is never easy in the case of prisoners convicted of terrorist offences.
‘The panel weighed the various factors and reached a conclusion that was a perfectly proper one on the evidence.
‘I do not consider that the decision was irrational.’
Sudan-born extremist Alsyed, from Hounslow, west London, and his brother Yousef used paintballing sessions to build their strength and target practice.
The brothers’ terror plan was foiled when the younger of the two was referred to police by his school. Both were arrested at Heathrow Airport in August 2016.
Both admitted engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terrorism at Woolwich Crown Court. Alsyed was handed his sentence in April 2018.
Alsyed had sent secret messages to Yousef, revealing plans to fight or die fighting for fellow religious extremists, even sharing videos of beheadings.
He said in one encrypted message: ‘I just want to do martyrdom operations.’
Alsyed is one of 74 convicted terrorists let out on licence in the UK under an automatic early release scheme.
He was released 11 months after London Bridge attacker Usman Khan and two months after Streatham terrorist Sudesh Amman were automatically released.
Khan was serving 16 years for terrorism offences after his 2012 conviction.
He had been part of a plot, inspired by al-Qaeda, to establish a terrorist camp on his family’s land in Kashmir and bomb the London Stock Exchange. The plot was disrupted by MI5 and the police.
Khan was automatically released in December 2018. Last November, he attacked five people, killing two, on London Bridge before he was shot dead.
Amman had been sentenced to three years and four months in prison for disseminating terrorist material and collecting information that could prove useful to would-be terrorist.
He had shared an al-Qaeda magazine in a family WhatsApp group and told his siblings ‘the Islamic State [ISIS] is here to stay’.
Amman also told his girlfriend that she should kill her unbelieving parents.
Following his release in January 2020, Amman was ‘under active counter-terrorism surveillance’. The attacker was ‘considered to pose a serious risk, and was well known to the counter-terror authorities, he was also the subject of a live investigation’, according to The Guardian.
After the Streatham stabbing in February, the Government said legislation would be brought forward to prevent the automatic early release of convicted terrorists.
The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill 2020 was introduced on February 11, and had cleared all stages without a Commons vote on February 12.
It became an Act of Parliament on February 26.
Source: Daily Mail