Family condemns London Bridge terrorist's actions

Aditi Khanna

London, Dec 4 (PTI) The UK-based family of the terrorist shot dead by British security forces during the London Bridge attack last week has condemned his actions and expressed condolences to the relatives of the two victims killed in the knife rampage.

Usman Khan's family, which hails from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), issued a statement through Scotland Yard to express their shock at the convicted terrorist's actions during a prisoner rehabilitation conference at Fishmonger’s Hall in London on November 29.

'We are saddened and shocked by what Usman has done,” notes the statement.

'We totally condemn his actions and we wish to express our condolences to the families of the victims that have died and wish a speedy recovery to all of the injured. We would like to request privacy for our family at this difficult time,” it reads.

Lukasz Koczocik, a Polish porter at Fishmonger’s Hall who had intervened with a pole to fight Khan during his knife attack, also issued a statement to say that he had acted instinctively during the 'sad and pointless' attack.

'When the attack happened, I acted instinctively. I am now coming to terms with the whole traumatic incident,' he said.

Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, both Cambridge University graduates, were stabbed to death by 28-year-old Khan, a convicted terrorist, during the Learning Together event they were attending. Inquests into their deaths were opened at the Old Bailey court in London on Wednesday.

Khan, convicted of a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and plans to set up a terrorist training camp on ancestral land in PoK, had been released on parole last December.

It has emerged that he had gone on to complete two rehabilitation schemes during the eight years he spent in prison and following his release. During his time in prison, Khan completed a course for people convicted of extremism offences and after his release went on a scheme to address the root causes of terrorism.

The first course Khan went on, the Healthy Identity Intervention Programme, was piloted from 2010 and is now the main rehabilitation scheme for prisoners convicted of offences linked to extremism in the UK. The second scheme is called the Desistance and Disengagement Programme and both remain under review as their impact is yet to be evaluated.

Khan was arrested in December 2010 and sentenced in 2012 to indeterminate detention for public protection, having pleaded guilty to preparing terrorist acts. However, that sentenced was shortened during a Court of Appeal hearing in 2013, resulting in him being freed with an electronic tag in December 2018.

Since the attack, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a series of comments in relation to tougher sentences for dangerous prisoners as well as additional counter-terrorism security measures at venues across the UK.

'We must not let the terrorists alter our way of life. In our open and tolerant society, the freedom for citizens to enjoy markets, concerts, gigs and restaurants must continue as before. But there are steps we can and will take to make public spaces as secure as possible,' he said, as he proposed measures akin to fire safety at major event venues. PTI AK ZH ZH ZH