ANJEM Choudary smirked at crowds after being released from Belmarsh prison at 4am this morning – with his new neighbours in North London saying they are “disgusted”.
The Islamic cleric, 51, from Ilford, East London, was jailed for inviting support for Islamic State in 2016 and had been a lead figure in the now-banned al-Muhajiroun group.
He was seen this morning leaving prison in a car with blacked out windows, escorted by two police vehicles.
Later, he was seen leaving the hostel flanked by cops. When asked questions about his release, he smiles but remained silent however.
Choudary was due for automatic release after reaching the halfway point of a five-and-a-half-year sentence, with time spent on remand is taken into account.
His influence helped to inspire the London Bridge attackers and Lee Rigby’s killers.
He today has been be placed in a probation hostel, which is just yards from a primary school in Camden, North London.
It is understood that he will have his own room, with a double bed, wardrobe and chest of drawers.
He will also be subject to a strict curfew.
One neighbour told MailOnline: “I think it is disgusting that he is here and freed so early given what he is responsible for.
“They should find another place for him away from the community.
“Everyone has heard of him.
“If he hates this country so much he should be deported.”
Fiyaz Mughal, head of anti-extremist group Faith Matters, has discussed Choudary with the imam who was brought into prison to try to de-radicalise him.
He said: “Choudary was put in containment that stops him engaging with other prisoners, but also given pastoral care to see if they could get through to him.
“I asked the guy who spoke to him if the de-radicalisation programme had worked and he said, ‘No, he’s got worse. He’s hardened’.
“He speaks in the mind-set of the victim. He sees himself as a martyr the state tried to silence.”
PREACHER OF HATE: How Choudary became the face of radical Islam in the UK
Choudary has been one of the most high-profile faces of radical Islam in Britain for years, leading groups under names including al-Muhajiroun, Islam4UK and Muslims Against Crusades.
Several people who attended Choudary’s rallies and events have been convicted of violent attacks, including the pair of al-Qaida-inspired killers who ran over British soldier Lee Rigby and stabbed him to death in 2013.
Until he was charged under the Terrorism Act, the firebrand preacher gained attention for headline-grabbing activities that provoked outrage but stayed on the right side of the law.
They included protesting outside the US Embassy on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and burning memorial poppies on the annual Remembrance Day honoring slain service members.But he ran into trouble in 2014 after his name appeared on an oath circulating online that declared the legitimacy of the “proclaimed Islamic Caliphate State.”
Choudary said the oath was made without his knowledge.The judge who sent him to prison in 2016, Mr Justice Holroyde, told him at the Old Bailey: “You show no remorse at all for anything you have said or done and I have no doubt you will continue to communicate your message whenever you can.”
Sir Mark Rowley, who retired from policing earlier this year, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It was a significant arrest and it was good to put him in prison.
“But I think we have to be careful not to overstate his significance. At the end of the day, he is a pathetic groomer of others.
“That is what he has done in the past. He is not some sort of evil genius we all need to be afraid of.
“We have to recognise that radicalisers look to generate a profile, they look to prey on the vulnerable.
“We need to be thoughtful about how we report their activity.”
It is understood that he will be subjected to 25 rules he most follow, with a single breach landing him back in prison.
A source said: “The measures affect Choudary’s movements, associations, spending and even where he worships.
“They are among the most restrictive ever placed upon any offender leaving prison.
WATCHING CHOUDARY: Protecting the public from terror
Police and probation services are equipped to manage Anjem Choudary following his release from prison, Theresa May said yesterday.The Prime Minister said authorities have a range of powers to supervise the preacher in the community.Choudary was convicted of inviting support for Islamic State, also known as Daesh.
Asked about the case at a press conference in Brussels yesterday, Mrs May said: “On the question of Anjem Choudary, obviously he’s an extremist preacher.”He pledged his allegiance to Daesh. He was convicted of inviting support for them.”
She added: “If and when any terrorist offender is released, well-rehearsed plans are put in place to keep the public safe.”The police, the prison, the probation service and other agencies have a range of powers available to them.
“They also have significant experience in dealing with such offenders.”This includes the setting of strict licence conditions, such as restrictions on movement and internet access and stringent curfews, the breach of which could result in immediate recall to prison.”
The measures are expected to include:
A night-time curfew
Requirements to stay within a set area and only attend pre-approved mosques
A ban on contacting individuals who he knows or believes to have been charged with or convicted of extremist-related offences without prior approval
Restrictions relating to internet use and mobile device ownership
“He will be the most marked man in Britain. But they are there for a reason — to prevent Choudary using his poisonous influence to groom and corrupt others.”
Choudary attended school in Woolwich and enrolled at the University of Southampton to study medicine, but failed his first year exams.
At university he was known as “Andy” and fellow students claimed he was often “getting stoned” and acted like a “party animal”.
Whitehall sources described Choudary as “just a coward” upon release.
One told The Telegraph: “He has never travelled anywhere to fight and yet has been happy to see followers go abroad to wage jihad and die.
“He doesn’t care about them. He is happy to radicalise vulnerable young men and send them to fight. But he is too scared to go.
“He is no martyr and potential followers need to understand that.”
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
October 19th, 2018