Henry Martin, Daily Mail, April 27, 2022
Terrorists are setting up Sharia courts in prisons and flogging those who flout their strict Muslim code – while prison staff are too concerned about bogus racism claims to put them in isolation, a terror watchdog report has found.
High-profile inmates at jails including Belmarsh and Whitemoor are styling themselves as ’emirs’ and using their ‘celebrity’ status in efforts to take over prison wings and radicalise jailed Muslims, according to independent reviewer of terror legislation Jonathan Hall HQ.
Prisoners are excluded from the showers and kitchens if they do not adhere to a halal diet, while ‘enforcers’ make inmates carry out ‘menial’ jobs like cleaning cells, Mr Hall adds in his report, due to be published today.
Efforts are also made to ban staff from going to Friday prayers while a strict code is enforced – including the ‘use of Sharia courts and punishment, including flogging’, Mr Hall says.
‘Insincere allegations of racism and Islamophobia’ are made against staff to ‘delegitimise’ their authority, weakening their ability to halt the terrorists’ control over prison life, and Mr Hall stressed that a ‘see you in court’ mentality can deter prison staff from putting jihadis into isolation.
Prison officers also appeal to the self-styled ’emirs’ to keep ‘good order’ among the inmates, The Times reports.
Vulnerable prisoners are also groomed with gifts in an attempt to convince them to spread terror when they are finally released.
It follows a series of high-profile cases, including the 2019 London Bridge attack when Usman Khan, a terrorist prisoner out on licence, stabbed two people to death.
In 2020 Brusthom Ziamani, who was serving a 19-year sentence for plotting to behead a soldier, was convicted of attempted murder for trying to hack an officer to death in the maximum-security Whitemoor jail.
Khairi Saadallah, who was given a whole life sentence last year for murdering three men in a terror attack in a Reading park, had been befriended by a radical preacher while serving an earlier prison term.
Sudesh Amman, a convicted terrorist who spoke of his wish to kill the Queen and join Islamic State while in prison, stabbed two people in Streatham, south London, just ten days after he was released.
The report’s publication comes as Justice Secretary Dominic Raab revealed that jailed terrorists will be blocked from claiming a ‘right to socialise’ under Britain’s new Bill of Rights.
Dangerous and influential fanatics will be separated in specialist units to thwart the spread of poisonous ideology – and also face a crackdown on complaints.
Mr Raab said: ‘We are going to take a more decisive approach in our prisons, not allowing cultural and religious sensitivities to deter us from nipping in the bud early signs of terrorist risk.’
Stressing that prisons will ‘isolate more of the most radical terrorists’, Mr Raab added: ‘Our Bill of Rights will prevent [them] using the Human Rights Act to claim a ‘right to socialise’ in prison.’
In line with Mr Hall’s recommendations, Mr Raab said the process for referring prisoners to the separation centres will be strengthened against legal challenge to ensure they cannot frustrate a move on ‘trivial grounds’.
The Ministry of Justice is also investing £6 million in expanding the Prison Service’s close supervision centres where the most physically violent offenders – including terrorists – are held.
Governors will be given greater autonomy for tackling and reducing terrorist behaviour in their prisons while new targets will be set for improving performance.
Prison staff will be given improved training to enable them to spot signs of terrorist activity in jails while ensuring they are given the most up-to-date information on evolving threats.
In his report, Mr Hall said the current threat in prisons was from Islamist terrorism and that there was ‘no other comparable threat’.
‘Prisons must not be allowed to become a second opportunity for committed terrorists whose attack plans are thwarted in the community,’ he said.
‘More fundamentally, public confidence in the criminal justice system is shaken if terrorism occurs in prison or if people enter prison only to more dangerous: and the ability of prisons to function is gravely degraded if prison officers fear imminent terrorist attack.’