Government raises minimum prison sentence for terror plotters under new guidelines

Government raises minimum prison sentence for terror plotters under new guidelines
British people who travel to future war zones will also spend longer in prison

Terrorists who make plans to kill at least two people will face longer in prison under new sentencing guidelines published today.

Justice secretary Dominic Raab has argued that the new advice for judges to hand down sentences of a minimum of 14 years would send a stronger message to those who plot to “kill and maim in the name of warped and fanatical ideologies”.

The Ministry of Justice’s move comes as police continue to question Ali Harbi Ali, 25, over the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess last week. The suspect has been detained under the Terrorism Act.

The Sentencing Council has confirmed it will advise judges that the starting point for sentencing those who plot to kill with terror motives should be a minimum of 14 years, according to The Times.

The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act, which took effect in April, could also lead to 14-year minimum sentences for British people who travel to future war zones, in the same way as for those who joined Islamic State.

The guidelines, which will apply in England and Wales, will also stipulate stricter monitoring of offenders once they are released from jail with licence terms of between seven and 25 years.

Despite the apparent move to get tougher on terror plotters, a number of extremists have already received life sentences in recent years.

Last year, Mohiussunnath Chowdhury – who plotted an al-Qaeda inspired terror attack at the Pride parade in London – was jailed for at least 25 years in prison.

Also in 2020, Safiyya Shaikh, formerly known as Michelle Ramsden, was given a life sentence with a minimum of 14 years for planning an Isis-inspired Easter suicide bomb attack in St Paul’s Cathedral.

In 2019, Jack Renshaw – a far-right extremist who planned to murder West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper with a sword – was sentenced to life.