A Pakistani-origin radical Islamist preacher was freed from a UK jail on Friday after serving less than half of his five-and-a-half-year sentence for inviting support to the Islamic State terror group.
Anjem Choudary, 51, was released for his reported “good behaviour” under very strict licence conditions from the high-security Belmarsh prison in south London.
Under around 25 strict conditions imposed on him include having to stay at a monitored probation hostel over the next few months, not being allowed to leave London and not being allowed to interact with the media or preach to young people.
Any mosque he would wish to attend would have to be vetted by security officials and he will remain under surveillance as part of efforts to ensure he is not allowed to radicalise others.
The Metropolitan Police and MI5 intelligence service are expected to be among a host of agencies involved in monitoring him in the community, under surveillance plans that will remain in place until the end of his sentencing period of five-and-a-half years.
Some of Choudary’s other strict conditions cover electronic tagging; a night-time curfew; requirements to stay within a set area; a ban on contacting individuals who he knows or believes to have been charged with or convicted of extremist-related offences without prior approval; and restrictions relating to the internet use and mobile device ownership.
Any breach of licence conditions can result in immediate return to custody.
UK-born Anjem Choudary was jailed at the Old Bailey court in London in September 2016 for radical preaching and urging Muslims to support the terrorist group ISIS.
The so-called “hate preacher” was reportedly being held in a “separation centre” at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) Frankland in County Durham.
Choudary, who led the Islamist group Al Muhajiroun until it was prescribed by the government in 2010, was accused of pledging an oath of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In his sentencing remarks, Justice Holroyde described Choudary as “dangerous” and “more calculating” than his fellow Islamist Mohammed Rahman, who was also jailed for five-and-a-half years for supporting Islamic State (ISIS).
“You show no remorse at all for anything you have said or done, and I have no doubt you will continue to communicate your message whenever you can,” said Holroyde.
Among Choudary’s many UK followers was Indian-origin ISIS fighter Siddhartha Dhar, dubbed as “Jihadi Sid” by the UK media, who went on to become one of the senior commanders of the terror group in Syria.
The British Hindu, who converted to Islam and adopted the name Abu Rumaysah, had skipped police bail in the UK to travel to Syria with his wife and young children in 2014.