Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary still poses a 'genuinely dangerous' threat to safety in the UK and the West ahead of his release from jail, a minister has warned.
Prisons minister Rory Stewart said the 51-year-old, who inspired the killers of Lee Rigby and London Bridge terrorist Khuram Butt, would be 'watched like a hawk' by police.
The 51-year-old has served less than three years of a five-and-a-half-year sentence for inviting support for ISIS and is currently in a special 'prison within a prison' at HMP Belmarsh.
He spent five months inside before his trial took place which is part of the reason why his release next month has been triggered.
Mr Stewart said he remained a 'destabilising influence' because he was part of a group of 'highly dangerous fanatical extremists' whose views cannot be changed and should be under surveillance.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Mr Stewart said: 'We have to put a very rich, full, MAPPA (multi agency public protection arrangements) wrap around them that includes everything going all the way up to MI5. That's GPS trackers, that's police, that's intelligence, watching every movement of their lives and restricting it incredibly closely because I'm in no doubt that these people are highly dangerous.
'Even if they are not themselves making bombs, they are a completely pernicious influence on the people they come into contact with and they need to be kept away from them.'
He added: 'He [Choudary] is somebody that I would put into the category I have just mentioned — somebody who was not given a sentence of enormous length but somebody who is a genuinely dangerous person ... we will be watching him very, very carefully.'
Choudary ran banned terrorist group Al-Muhajiroun whose members would hold 'Sharia surgeries' and discuss plots in an east London sweet shop belonging to a businessman associate of the hate preacher.
Among those he is credited with inspiring are Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the murderers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, and suspected ISIS executioner Siddhartha Dhar.
His upcoming release comes amid concerns at the lengths of sentences being handed out for hate speech offences with questions raised over whether legislation is strong enough to deal with the problem.
Mr Stewart added plans were in place to train a group of 25 'elite' Muslim preachers to try to deradicalise extremist prisoners and tackle 'crazy ideas' and 'false logic' put forward by Islamists and ISIS.
He said he was 'optimistic' the approach would work despite 'concerning' numbers of prisoners influenced by extremism because of social media, troubled backgrounds and mental health problems.
Earlier this year Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced new policies including longer prison sentences being introduced for those convicted of terrorist offences, including a maximum 15 years for watching jihadist propaganda such as beheading videos and bomb-making manuals on the internet.
The government's new counter-terrorism strategy will boost intelligence cooperation between MI5 and police as well as the private sector.
The plan, to be dubbed Contest, will seek to ensure 'that there are no safe spaces for terrorists, no safe spaces internationally, in the UK or online'.
Under the new blueprint, the security services will be alerted to suspicious purchases more swiftly.
The government want firms to raise the alarm as quickly as possible if they have evidence of unusual transactions - such as someone stockpiling large amounts of chemicals or acting suspiciously when hiring a vehicle.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.