Sunderland shopkeeper in prison for terror offences has early release blocked by new law

A Sunderland shopkeeper is the first person to be affected by a new law to block the automatic early release of people convicted of terror offences.

Mohammed Zahir Khan was jailed for four and a half years in 2018 after posting material supporting the Islamic State on social media.

He was due for early release tomorrow, but the new law which affects around 50 prisoners received royal assent in the House of Commons on 26 February.

Before being freed the prisoners would need to be reviewed by a panel of specialist judges and psychiatrists at the Parole Board.

The House of Lords backed the Bill unamended in one sitting on Monday evening.

The Act has been passed just two days before Mohammed Zahir Khan who was originally from Birmingham was due for release.

The Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill was passed by MPs and was announced by Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans:

Sudesh Amman stabbed people with a knife in Streatham Credit: Police

The release date change follows the Streatham terror attack earlier this month in which Sudesh Amman stabbed two bystanders with a knife he had grabbed from a shop.

The 20-year-old had been jailed in December 2018 for possessing anddistributing terrorist documents but had been freed midway through his sentence less than a fortnight before the attack.

The law will apply to offenders sentenced for crimes such as training for terrorism, membership of a proscribed organisation, and the dissemination of terrorist publications.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said:

Police investigating the Streatham terror attack. Credit: PA

All terrorist offenders will be subject to robust safeguards upon release, which could include notification requirements, restrictions on travel and communications, and imposed curfews.