The Tories are using the appalling stabbing of three people in Reading to push racism and repression.
The main suspect, Khairi Saadallah, was a refugee from Libya—a country destroyed by Western bombs and civil war after the toppling of the country’s dictator. Saadallah was initially held on suspicion of murder.
Very quickly he was rearrested under Section 40 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The press described him as a terrorist with criminal convictions—although it had to admit that these were non-terrorism related.
Many questions remain about the background to the incident. Saadallah was “known” to MI5. He has been described as a convinced Islamist and as a Christian convert.
Nevertheless, Boris Johnson jumped to suggest that the solution is tougher sentencing.
“We will not hesitate to take that action,” he said, “as we have before, you will recall, over the automatic early release of terrorist offenders.” The Tories are already pushing through the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill. This would see a return to the indefinite house arrest and monitoring of people without trial.
Similar measures were used by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s Labour governments.
Some right wingers might think it convenient to use Saadallah’s actions to push back the Black Lives Matter movement.
We must stand against terror laws and racism.