Man inspired by IS terror group found guilty of UK lawmaker's murder

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LONDON, UK - Ali Harbi Ali, who was inspired by the so-called Islamic State terror group (ISIS), was found guilty on Monday of murdering British lawmaker David Amess. Ali knifed Amess to death in a frenzied attack inside a church where he was meeting voters.

Ali Harbi Ali, 26, a British citizen and son of an ex-media advisor to a former prime minister of Somalia, repeatedly stabbed Amess with a foot-long carving knife in Leigh-on-Sea, southeast England, in October 2021.

He targeted Amess because he had voted in favor of airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria in 2015.

The university drop-out told London's Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey, that he "decided to do it because I felt that if I could kill someone who made decisions to kill Muslims, it could prevent further harm to those Muslims".

'A horrific act of terrorism

Prosecutors said he was a "committed, fanatical, radicalized Islamist terrorist".

"This was a horrific act of terrorism motivated by religious and ideological beliefs," said Nick Price, Head of the Crown Prosecution Service's Counter-Terrorism Division.

"Ali chose to commit this abhorrent crime for his own selfish and hateful reasons."

Ali was found guilty of murder and preparation of terrorism after the jury took less than half an hour to reach a verdict.

The killing of 69-year-old Amess, a married father of five children and a member of the ruling Conservative Party, sent shockwaves through Westminster and led to calls for better security for members of parliament (MPs), coming just five years after the murder of another lawmaker.

British MPs regularly hold surgeries, which are one-to-one meetings, with voters in their constituencies, a tradition considered a bedrock of democracy. But with little or no security and an emphasis on access for all, surgeries can make lawmakers vulnerable.

A post-mortem examination showed Amess suffered 21 stab wounds to his face, arms, legs, and torso, as well as injuries to both hands that were consistent with defending himself, the court heard.

Amess was first elected to parliament in 1983, initially representing Basildon in Essex, then nearby Southend West.
'Bottled' previous attacks

Ali told detectives he had spent years planning to kill a lawmaker and had previously carried out reconnaissance at the Houses of Parliament, and of two other MPs, including cabinet minister Michael Gove.

He said he had "bottled" previous attacks and had settled on Amess because he was "the easiest", he told police in interviews. He also mentioned the lawmaker's membership in the Conservative Friends of Israel Group.

The killer told the court he had wanted to join ISIS and believed his actions would help Muslims, describing himself as "moderate".

"If I thought I did anything wrong, I wouldn't have done it," he told the court. Ali will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Source(s): AFP ,Reuters

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