Anjem Choudary, the notorious Islamist hate preacher, will be released from jail next month despite a chilling warning from the justice minister that he remained “genuinely dangerous”.Choudary, 51, is due to be freed within weeks after serving half of a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence for encouraging Muslims to join Islamic State.The Government admitted on Tuesday it was powerless to prevent Choudary from being released on licence. Rory Stewart, the prisons minister, said that the preacher was “a deeply pernicious, destabilising influence”.Mr Stewart, in an interview, added: “He is… somebody who is a genuinely dangerous person. We will be watching him very carefully.”Choudary was leader of the proscribed terrorist group al-Muhajiroun, whose followers included Khuram Butt, part of the London Bridge terror cell who murdered eight innocent bystanders in June last year.Other disciples include Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby, murdered outside his barracks in south London in 2013. Show more At the time he was jailed in 2016, Choudary had been linked to 15 terror plots dating back almost 20 years and connections to hundreds of British jihadists who fled to Syria to fight.David Videcette, a former detective with the anti-terror squad who investigated the July 7 suicide attacks on London in 2005, said: “Every plot I ever researched – someone in it was linked to Choudary.” Lord Carlile, former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, said Choudary “knows how to play the system”, adding: “It is disturbing and worrying that he will be back on the streets.” It is Choudary will likely be tagged and placed in a ‘halfway house’ with restrictions imposed on his use of the internet and on the people he can mix with. Security services are also expected to keep him under surveillance.His case highlights the huge problems faced by the Government in delaing with Islamist extremists jailed for shorter sentences for lesser offences who are now due out.Mr Stewart said in the interview with the Evening Standard: “Even if they themselves are not 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.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Ministry of Justice said that Choudary was given a determinate sentence, has served his two and a bit years and will serve the remaining time on licence in the community. He will be monitored and tracked.A government source added: “He will technically be a free man”.Choudary had spent years goading authorities before finally being jailed. He refused to condemn the 7/7 bombings, demanded the imposition of Sharia across Britain and once called for the Queen to wear a burka.But using his legal training and forensic understanding of terrorism legislation he had – until 2016 – always managed to stay just the right side of the law and avoid prosecution.
EVERY WEEK, TheJournal.ie offers a selection of statistics and numerical nuggets to help you digest the week that has just passed.1,500,000,000: The approximate number of adults in the world who are obese, according to a new report.231,000,000: The amount of Irish punts the Central Bank says are still hanging around under mattresses or in old piggy banks, twelve years after Ireland switched to the euro.80,000: The approximate number of households which have been fitted with water meters so far ahead of October’s introduction of water charges.3,000: The approximate number of applications for bankruptcy the Minister for Justice expects to see over the next twelve months following the introduction of new laws.650: The number of people waiting on transplant lists in Ireland, despite 2013 being a record year for transplants being carried out.52: The number of passengers – including scientists, journalists and tourists – rescued from a research ship in the Antarctic on Thursday which had been trapped in ice since Christmas Day.28 – The percentage price differential between house prices in Dublin compared to the rest of the country, according to new property research.18 – The number of countries using the euro now after Latvia became the latest country to join the single currency on New Year’s Day.17.5 – The percentage increase in the number of people who died on Ireland’s roads in 2013 compared to the number of deaths the previous year.8: The number of years that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been in a coma after suffering a massive stroke. The 85-year-old’s condition deteriorated significantly during the week.5: The number of seconds into the new year when the first baby born in Ireland in 2014 entered the world.4: The percentage of primary school children who never get any help at all with their homework from parents, according to the Central Statistics Office.0 – The salary claimed by Capuchin monk Brother Kevin Crowley who runs the Capuchin Day Centre for the homeless in Dublin city centre.Want more? Check out our previous ‘In numbers’ pieces >