Saturday 19 October 2019

Notorious UK hate preacher out of jail

Silent: Preacher Anjem Choudary is banned from talking to media
Silent: Preacher Anjem Choudary is banned from talking to media

Laura FitzPatrick

Anjem Choudary - described as one of the most dangerous Islamist preachers in Britain - has been released from prison.

The notorious hate preacher was released from Belmarsh prison in south east London midway through his five-and-a-half-year sentence.

Choudary had been held at Frankland high security prison in Durham, but was moved back to the British capital ahead of his release.

He was driven out of Belmarsh prison at high speed shortly after dawn and was spotted arriving at a probation hostel in north London at 6.29am yesterday.

Wearing blue Adidas trainers, a grey cardigan over a long white robe and sporting his recognisable long grey beard, Choudary was accompanied by as he walked up the front steps to the six-storey probation hostel. Five other unmarked police cars were parked in the surrounding area.

Choudary (51) was jailed in 2016 after being caught swearing an oath of allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

He was given five and a half years in jail, but under sentencing rules became eligible for release under licence after serving half of that term.

His release has sparked condemnation as UK ministers have admitted he remains "genuinely dangerous".

Half an hour after he entered the hostel, a plain-clothes police officer removed three black bags containing Choudary's belongings from the boot of an unmarked car. Three hours later, plain-clothes officers left the hostel after briefing Choudary on his new arrangements.

Shortly before 1pm, Choudary held a staged photo call outside the hostel, stepping onto the front steps to pose for just over a minute for the dozen photographers who had been waiting in the street.

In an indication he had obtained the co-operation of the hostel management, four "community security officers" in high-visibility vests lined up across the main entrance shortly before its most famous resident emerged.

Wearing a benign smile, Choudary came out to wave briefly to the cameras.

But he said nothing, mindful not to breach his licence conditions which prevent him talking to the media.

Parents taking their children to a nearby school expressed their concern at Choudary's presence. "He's not the kind of person you want living here," said one. "I hope they keep a close eye on him to stop him exerting any sort of influence on the community."

Choudary faces 25 strict conditions, including a ban on talking to children and using the internet. He will also be required to report to supervisors throughout the day to prevent him travelling out of London.

Irish Independent

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