The youngest person ever convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the UK can now be freed after spending five years in prison, the parole board for England and Wales said on Monday.
The 20-year-old man, who can only be identified as RXG, attempted to instigate a terrorist attack to kill police officers during a parade in Australia when he was 14.
He received a life sentence in 2015 with a minimum of five years, which ended in October 2020.
Two hearings were held after RXG became eligible for parole. After the hearings, the board was satisfied that “considerable progress had been made” and that there was no need for him to serve more time in prison.
“After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in detention, and the evidence presented at the hearings, the panel was satisfied that RXG was suitable for release,” a written summary of the board’s decision reads.
The document also said that RXG had “undertaken extensive specialist work in detention to address his offending behaviour, his understanding of Islam, and to develop his level of maturity.”
The Mirror reported that Forensic Psychologist Dr. Louise Bowers had said in a 2018 assessment that “RXG appears to have left his ‘terrorist identity’ behind, and he is well on the way to developing a new stable and pro-social identity.”
The reporting restrictions on identifying children as victims, witnesses, and defendants generally expire when the person concerned becomes 18. However, Dame Victoria Sharp granted RXG lifelong anonymity for his protection in 2019.
In 2015, the then -14-year-old boy pretended to be older and sent thousands of messages to Australian jihadist Sevdet Besim, suggesting the then 18-year-old behead an officer or kill officers with a car during the Anzac Day parade in Melbourne, Australia, on April 25.
UK police officers alerted their Australian counterparts ahead of the possible attack, after they found the messages in RXG’s phone.
Besim pleaded guilty in June, 2016, to “doing acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.” He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of seven years and six months. In 2017, he was re-sentenced to 14 years, with a minimum of ten years and six months.
According to a statement from Australia’s Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, “it was alleged that Mr. Besim planned to kill a police officer during Anzac Day commemorations in Melbourne 2015 and then use the officer’s weapon to commit further acts of violence.”