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Britain’s top al-Qaeda chief could walk free, 47, after winning parole bid following 2008 sentence

Britain’s biggest al-Qaeda terror boss has won parole – and could be on the loose in months.

Rangzieb Ahmed – who had planned a massacre in the UK – has been told to appear before probation next month.

If successful, the convicted terror leader, who was once said to be Osama bin Laden’s main European agent, will be free to roam the streets again.

Ahmed, 47, was jailed for a minimum of 10 years in 2008 for leading a three-man al-Qaeda cell planning mass attacks.

A spokesperson for the probation service said: “We can confirm that the probation service of Rangzieb Ahmed has been referred to probation by the Secretary of State for Justice and is following standard procedures. A hearing is expected to be held at the end of July.

“Probation decisions are solely focused on the risk a detainee could pose to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.

Rangzieb Ahmed - who had planned a massacre in the UK - has been told to appear before probation next month.  Pictured arriving at Heathrow Airport from Islamabad

Rangzieb Ahmed – who had planned a massacre in the UK – has been told to appear before probation next month. Pictured arriving at Heathrow Airport from Islamabad

“A panel will carefully examine a vast array of evidence, including details of the original crime, and any evidence of behavioral change, as well as the harm done and impact the crime has had on the victims.

Members read and digest hundreds of pages of evidence and reports in the run-up to a hearing.

“Evidence from witnesses, including probation officers, psychiatrists and psychologists, officials who monitor the perpetrator in prison, and personal statements from victims will then be given during the hearing.

‘The prisoner and witnesses are then extensively interrogated during the hearing, which often lasts a whole day or longer. Parole reviews are conducted thoroughly and with the utmost care. Protecting the public is our number one priority.’

The Rochdale-born Muslim was sentenced to life with a minimum of ten years after a court heard he was behind the terror cell.

Counter-terrorism leaders were unsure where Ahmed was planning to strike, but were convinced an attack was imminent.

If successful, the convicted terror leader, who was once said to be Osama bin Laden's main European agent, will be free to roam the streets again.

If successful, the convicted terror leader, who was once said to be Osama bin Laden’s main European agent, will be free to roam the streets again.

His plan was revealed with the discovery of three diaries, which turned out to contain details and phone numbers of key al-Qaeda operatives, written in invisible ink.

Ahmed later sued MI5 and MI6 for alleged collusion in his torture by Pakistani intelligence services, but in 2020 his claim for damages was rejected by the Supreme Court.

Ahmed alleged that he was tortured by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) intelligence agency between 2006 and 2007, before being deported to the UK and charged with terrorism.

Ahmed, 47, was given a 10-year prison term in 2008 for leading a three-man al-Qaeda cell planning mass attacks

Ahmed, 47, was given a 10-year prison term in 2008 for leading a three-man al-Qaeda cell planning mass attacks

He was referred to the Parole Board last year, but complex security checks delayed the hearing.

MI5 intelligence, police and counter-terrorism units were asked for reports.

Authorities fear the release of a terrorist who may pose a violent threat in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack.

Usman Khan was released from prison in November 2019 when he killed two people and injured three others.

He was convicted of planning a terrorist attack in 2012.

Khan, 28, murdered prison rehab workers Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, during an event at Fishmongers’ Hall.

Last year, it was revealed in a newspaper that Ahmed had been thrown into solitary confinement after lying that a guard had been racist.

Officials found there was no evidence of racism after being told to respect social distancing rules.

The terrorist is currently being held in HMP Buckley Hall, Greater Manchester.

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