Picture of London Bridge attacker with Islamist hate preacher emerges
A picture has emerged of the convicted terrorist who killed two people at London Bridge posing with Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
The photograph of Usman Khan was taken in March 2009 – three years before he was jailed for plotting to blow up the London Stock Exchange.
Khan was known to have attended a series of protests held by al Muhajiroun – and the pair were photographed during a conference on sharia law organised by the now-banned extremist group.
Last Friday, Khan stabbed 25-year-old Jack Merritt and 23-year-old Saskia Jones to death during a prisoner rehabilitation event. He was armed with two knives and a suicide vest, and was shot dead by specialist armed officers.
The 28-year-old, who was wearing an electronic tag at the time of the terror attack, was convicted and jailed over the LSE bomb plot in 2012.
Khan's sentence was quashed at the Court of Appeal in April 2013. He was given a determinate 16-year jail term, with a five-year extended licence period, which meant he was released automatically halfway through the sentence.
The law changed in 2012 – and if Khan was given the same sentence today, he would have had to serve at least two-thirds of the term and would only be released if the Parole Board agreed.
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Boris Johnson has been accused of politicising last week's attack by speaking out against the sentencing laws that led to Khan's early release.
The prime minister said "too many people are released automatically on to our streets and we need to address that", adding that some prisoners are beyond rehabilitation.
Jack Merritt's father has said his son would have been "livid" at how his death has been used to "perpetuate an agenda of hate that he gave his everything fighting against".
Prior to writing the article, David Merritt had posted a tweet criticising newspaper reports that said the prime minister was leading a "blitz on freed jihadis".
He said: "Don't use my son's death, and his and his colleague's photos – to promote your vile propaganda. Jack stood against everything you stand for – hatred, division, ignorance."
Mr Johnson has shown no sign of backing down.
The prime minister has used an interview with The Sun to criticise Jeremy Corbyn after the Labour leader told Sky News that convicted terrorists should "not necessarily" automatically serve their full prison sentences.
It came hours after Mr Johnson was joined by Mr Corbyn and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at a vigil for the victims.
In his most personal attack against his main rival since the campaign began, Mr Johnson said the Labour leader was "naive about the threat that terrorists pose", adding: "Every time he has the chance, he sides with our enemies."
The political row shows no signs of going away despite Mr Merritt's intervention.
Asked for her thoughts on the article, Home Secretary Priti Patel offered her condolences but insisted she and the prime minister hRead More – Source