Ancient treason laws should be updated so British terror recruits and jihadists returning from war zones can be prosecuted, a cross-party group of MPs, a former minister, and a former top judge have said.
A new report calling for the legal changes – whose authors include the Tory chairman of the foreign affairs committee Tom Tugendhat and Labour MP Khalid Mahmood – was backed by former Tory Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
Gathering enough evidence to prosecute those who join groups like Islamic State abroad is notoriously difficult, and the report, by the think tank Policy Exchange, argues a new offence would allow “suitable ground” on which to jail captured jihadists.
It highlights the cases of Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who were allegedly part of a brutal Islamic State cell named “the Beatles”, and says they could be jailed with the updated new law.
UKIP has previously called for treason laws to be used to jail jihadists, and a party spokesman told Breitbart London Wednesday they are sceptical the hardline idea will ever be realised by establishment politicians.
“This is yet another example of the Tory and Labour establishment talking the talk when we all know they won’t walk the walk.
“The politically correct Westminster establishment will never follow through and get tough on Jihadis. UKIP is the only party with the guts to protect the British people.”
The party’s current leader, Gerard Batten MEP, wrote a pamphlet back in 2005 slamming the government for being soft on terror and saying: “Britain’s ancient treason laws should be brought up-to-date and clarified.”
May Govt Admits ‘Significant Portion’ of Returned Islamic State Jihadists Going Unpunished https://t.co/IKVdAunzdk
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 5, 2018
“Successive British governments are to blame for the situation in which we now find ourselves,” Mr Batten adds in the 13-year-old document.
“They have allowed into Britain people who openly preach hatred, intolerance and the overthrow of the values of the very country that offers them sanctuary.”
In a foreword to the Policy Exchange report, Lord Judge, the former lord chief justice of England and Wales, echoed these sentiments.
“If a citizen of this country chooses to fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan against British forces, his crime is more than terrorism. It is treason, and should be prosecuted accordingly,” he writes.
Richard Walton, the former head of counter-terrorism at Scotland Yard, said using treason laws against jihadists was “appropriate”.
Labour’s Mr Mahmood commented: “Punishing treason properly is important to signal clearly that our communities condemn betrayal. Sentencing traitors to life imprisonment would recognise the gravity of the wrong they have committed and would help protect the public.”
Mr Tugendhat, meanwhile, argued that it was right that the law recognises betrayal of one’s country as a distinct crime.
“British citizens who aid groups like Isis, groups that intend to carry out attacks against the UK, or against UK forces deployed abroad, betray our country and should be condemned.
“The law must be written to ensure they can be stopped and their betrayal is recognised as a distinct crime.”
23,000 Jihadists, the vast majority of whom MI5 and the Police don't have the time, money, or people to watch https://t.co/goUgrrIa73
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 27, 2017