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Terrorist in prison officer attack on deradicalisation scheme

By PA News

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A convicted terrorist was eight months into a year-long jail deradicalisation programme when he tried to murder a prison guard.

Brusthom Ziamani, 25, was on Thursday jailed for life after he and Baz Hockton, 26, armed with makeshift weapons and wearing fake suicide vests, attacked prison officer Neil Trundle at maximum security HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire on January 9.

The terror attack is believed to be the first of its kind inside a UK jail, although a homemade IRA bomb was exploded inside Crumlin Road Prison in Belfast in 1991.

The judge, Mrs Justice May said Ziamani must serve a minimum 21 years, while Hockton will serve at least 23 years before he is eligible for parole.

She told Ziamani: “Your adherence to extremist ideology plainly persists, despite the best efforts of the prison psychologist and, no doubt, the prison imam.

“You were eight months into a year-long programme designed to address such beliefs when you committed these offences.

“Your current twisted view of Islam needs to moderate and change.

“It is not possible, at this stage, to determine for how long you will remain a danger.”

Brusthom Ziamani (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Brusthom Ziamani (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Prison deradicalisation schemes have faced increased scrutiny following terrorist attacks by recently released convicted terrorists.

Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25, were killed by former Whitemoor inmate Usman Khan, 28, in November last year.

He launched an attack armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest during a prisoner rehabilitation programme near London Bridge.

Khan, who had been released almost a year earlier, halfway through a 16-year jail sentence for terror offences, is said to have taken part in both of the prison system’s deradicalisation schemes – the health identity intervention (HII) and desistance and disengagement programme (DDP).

Sudesh Amman, 20, who injured three people in a knife attack in Streatham in February, reportedly refused to engage with attempts to turn him away from violence.

Mark Fairhurst, national chairman of the POA, called for a “fundamental review” of prison deradicalisation programmes following the latest attack.

“The important thing is to have a fundamental review carried out by experts to look at other authorities around the world to see what they do to deradicalise people or prevent people becoming radicalised,” he told the PA news agency.

“It’s not the first time someone who has completed the course or is due to complete the course has committed an atrocity.

“We need to review these courses really.”

Mr Fairhurst suggested more prisoners should be sent to separation centres, dubbed “jails within jails”, with only around six inmates currently thought to be subject to the tough regime announced in 2017 to tackle extremism behind bars.

The only one currently in use in England and Wales is in County Durham’s maximum-security Frankland prison, where Manchester Arena bomb plotter, Hashem Abedi, 23, is serving his sentence, although Full Sutton and Woodhill also have them available.

Mr Fairhurst said: “I think the process for referring someone to separation centres needs to be streamlined and we need to make more use of the space we have got.

“We need to listen to our staff.

“We know who the main players are in our prisons.”

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