Concerns raised by human rights lawyers that planned government legislation to prevent the early release of imprisoned extremists may violate the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) should not be taken seriously, as the safety of the UK population must take priority, Neil Hamilton, a member of the Wales' legislature, told Sputnik
LONDON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 07th February, 2020) Concerns raised by human rights lawyers that planned government legislation to prevent the early release of imprisoned extremists may violate the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) should not be taken seriously, as the safety of the UK population must take priority, Neil Hamilton, a member of the Wales' legislature, told Sputnik.
The lawmaker's comments follow two terrorist attacks that rocked London in the space of three months. After it was revealed that both perpetrators were released early from prison after being convicted of terror-related offenses, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to toughen legislation and prohibit the early release of extremists. Parliament is set to hear his proposals on Tuesday, although human rights group Liberty is believed to have claimed that the government's planned reforms may violate Article 7 of the ECHR. The article says that no one should be found guilty of commuting a certain act if this act did not constitute an offense under national or international law at the moment when it was committed.
"I prioritize the protection of the public over the abstract rights of individual criminals. The ECHR is completely unnecessary in a modern democratic state. We don't need a vague document drafted seventy five years ago or possibly more that's designed for completely different circumstances in the immediate post-war period to tell us what are sensible laws for Britain or not," Hamilton, a lawmaker of the National Assembly for Wales representing the Mid and West Wales constituency, stated.
Hamilton said that he has long campaigned for the UK to leave the ECHR, and replace it with "our own bill or declaration of rights that would be democratically controlled and changeable according to circumstances."
The UK government now plans to ensure that those convicted of terrorism-related offenses serve at least two thirds of the sentence handed down in court, assuming the relevant legislation makes it through parliament.
Hamilton added that toughening laws on the release of individuals convicted of terror offenses could also provide relief for the UK police force. Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu said on Wednesday that law enforcement officers were already having difficulty monitoring freed extremists, with more set to be released in the near future.
"But there is another question as to releasing dangerous criminals into the public domain, and there seems to be every argument for keeping these people inside for as long as possible, which will relieve the burden on the police. So we really do need to sort out policing in this country," Hamilton remarked.
Johnson's proposal to reform early release laws has already been met with a relatively lukewarm reception from opposition leaders, who, however, have raised concerns with the speed at which the legislation has been brought forward.
"Rushing through knee-jerk legislation in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack, without the resource and plans to reduce re-offending on release, is not the way to prevent terrorism," Daisy Cooper, Liberal Democrats justice spokeswoman said to the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, adding that the Conservative government must publish the legislation immediately in order to give members of parliament enough time to scrutinize the proposal.
Sudesh Amman had otherwise been released half way through his prison term on January 23 after being sentenced to three years and four months for possessing and disseminating material pertaining to terrorist activities. He was shot and killed by police officers on February 2 after stabbing multiple people in south London.
Likewise, Usman Khan was shot and killed by police after he murdered Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones in this past November's attack on London Bridge. Khan was released on license in 2018 halfway through a 16-year sentence for preparing acts of terrorism.