UK’s top al Al-Qaeda terror chief moves step closer to freedom: ‘Public safety at risk!’

UK’s top al Al-Qaeda terror chief moves step closer to freedom: ‘Public safety at risk!’
Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 24/04/2024

- 08:35

THE UK’s top al Al-Qaeda terror chief has moved a step closer to freedom, it can be revealed.

Rangzieb Ahmed, once said to be Osama Bin Laden’s top operative in Europe, was the first person in the UK to be convicted of directing terrorism.

He was jailed in 2008 for plotting mass murder and was caught with a book of terror contacts written in invisible ink, and a rucksack which contained traces of explosives.

Ahmed, 47, who has received almost £1m in legal aid to help fund his bid for freedom, was rejected parole in September 2022 after officials judged that he was too dangerous to be released.

Then, in July last year, he was ordered to take part in a deradicalisation programme that aims to make him safe for release.

Now it can be revealed that Ahmed has been approved for a new hearing with the Parole Board in which he is expected to argue he is rehabilitated.

The hearing takes place on June 20 and if officials agree to release him, Ahmed is likely to be freed within weeks.

His freedom bid comes just days after it emerged another jailed terrorist is trying to secure an exit from prison.

Parviz Khan, who threatened to kidnap and decapitate a British Muslim soldier, will appear before the Parole Board next week.

Last night terror expert Chris Phillips, former head of national counter terror security office, told GBNews: “Public safety will be at risk if either of these men are released. You have to question whether it will ever be safe for either of them to walk the streets again.”

Confirming the date of Ahmed’s freedom bid, a Parole Board spokesperson said: "An oral hearing has been listed for the parole review of Rangzieb Ahmed and is scheduled to take place in June 2024.

"Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

“A panel will carefully examine a huge range of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behaviour change, as well as explore the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

“Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports in the lead up to an oral hearing.

“Evidence from witnesses including probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials supervising the offender in prison as well as victim personal statements are then given at the hearing.

“The prisoner and witnesses are then questioned at length during the hearing which often lasts a full day or more.

“Parole reviews are undertaken thoroughly and with extreme care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.”

Rochdale-born Ahmed At Ahmed's was jailed for life with a minimum of 10 years after Manchester Crown Court heard he was behind the terror cell.

Counter-terrorism chiefs were not sure where Ahmed was planning to strike, but were convinced an attack was imminent.

His scheme was revealed with the discovery of three diaries, which were found to contain details and phone numbers of key al-Qaeda operatives written in invisible ink.

He was initially arrested by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency when he flew into the country in August 2006. He was held for a year before being deported to the UK where he was arrested.

Ahmed later sued MI5 and MI6 for alleged collusion in his torture by Pakistani intelligence, but in 2020 had his damages claim thrown out by the High Court.

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