Fears terrorist, 52, who plotted to kidnap and behead a soldier could be moved to an open prison after ‘well-behaved’ inmate has security status downgraded

One of Britain’s most dangerous terrorists who plotted to kidnap and behead a soldier has been denied parole – but is a step nearer freedom after having his security status downgraded.

Parviz Khan, then 37, was handed a life sentence, with a minimum of 14 years, in February 2008, after pleading guilty to the plan and to the supply of equipment for terrorists on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Sentencing him, judge Mr Justice Henriques at Leicester crown court, said at the time: ‘You have been described by the Crown as a man who has the most violent and extreme Islamist views and as a fanatic.

‘You not only plotted to kill a soldier, but you intended to film a most brutal killing.’

In a surprising move announced today, the Parole Board confirmed that it had rejected Khan’s second bid to be released, but that it had sanctioned a reduction in his security status from the highest risk Category A to Category B.

Parviz Khan (pictured) is one of Britain’s most dangerous terrorists who plotted to kidnap and behead a soldier. He has been denied parole, but is a step nearer freedom after having his security status downgraded

When he was 37 in February 2008 he was handed a life sentence, with a minimum of 14 years,  after pleading guilty to the plan and to the supply of equipment for terrorists on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Pictured on CCTV walking through the scanner at a UK airport after checking in on a flight to Pakistan

When he was 37 in February 2008 he was handed a life sentence, with a minimum of 14 years,  after pleading guilty to the plan and to the supply of equipment for terrorists on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Pictured on CCTV walking through the scanner at a UK airport after checking in on a flight to Pakistan

Sentencing him, judge Mr Justice Henriques at Leicester crown court (pictured), said at the time: 'You have been described by the Crown as a man who has the most violent and extreme Islamist views and as a fanatic'

Sentencing him, judge Mr Justice Henriques at Leicester crown court (pictured), said at the time: ‘You have been described by the Crown as a man who has the most violent and extreme Islamist views and as a fanatic’

It wrote in a summary document seen by MailOnline: ‘Shortly before the oral hearing, Mr Khan’s Category A prison status had been reviewed and he had been downgraded to Category B.

‘The panel was told that it will take about a year for Mr Khan to be considered suitable for a move to a lower security prison.

‘Witnesses did not support release at this time and believed that Mr Khan should now progress to a lower security prison where he might evidence his learning and show how he can cope with change.’

It is now more likely that the Parole Board will endorse a transfer for Khan, now 52, to an open prison when he next has a hearing in two-years time. Normally, prisoners at Category D jails have the opportunity to take day or weekend release.

The Parole Board said that Khan had behaved well in prison – apart from one violent lapse in 2011 which it called ‘excessive self-defence’ – and that he had undertaken an accredited programme designed to address extremist offending.

It wrote: ‘He then went on to engage with further work to explore his understanding of ideology at the time of his offending and how it may have changed during his sentence.

‘The panel heard about Mr Khan’s positive engagement with this work. Mr Khan has also worked with a prison Imam to help him better understand his faith.’

Chris Phillips, former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (pictured in 2017), said: 'Anyone who thinks the community will be safer if he is released is bonkers. Early release for terrorists is crazy'

Chris Phillips, former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (pictured in 2017), said: ‘Anyone who thinks the community will be safer if he is released is bonkers. Early release for terrorists is crazy’

The three-person panel said that Khan benefited from the full support of his family and this would act as a major factor in ensuring he did not commit more terrorist offences.

But it added: ‘The panel examined the release plan provided by Mr Khan’s probation officer and weighed its proposals against assessed risks.

‘The plan included a requirement to reside in designated accommodation as well as strict limitations on Mr Khan’s contacts, movements and activities.

‘The panel concluded this plan was not robust enough to manage Mr Khan in the community at this stage.’

The panel concluded: ‘After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was not satisfied that release at this point would be safe for the protection of the public.

‘The panel accepted that Mr Khan had completed a lot of work in custody but it determined that he would need to show how he conducts himself in less stringent prison conditions from those he currently experiences in a Category A prison.’

Four other men were sentenced alongside him – one for failing to tell police about the plot and three for helping him with his illicit supply line.

But it was Khan, who claimed to be a full-time carer for his elderly mother, who was the prime mover in the Birmingham-based terror cell.

The court heard in January 2009 that the extremist planned to film himself killing his intended victim ‘like a pig’. His gang was reported to be inspired by Choudary’s al-Muhajiroun network.

At trial, the judge said Khan’s aim was to deter any Muslim from joining the British Army.

‘This was not only a plot to kill a soldier but a plot to undermine the morale of the British Army and inhibit recruitment,’ he said.

Prosecutor Nigel Mr Rumfitt QC said at the time: ‘The prosecution say that Parviz Khan is a fanatic.

‘He is a man who has the most violent and extreme views. Khan was enraged by the idea that there were Muslim soldiers in the British Army, some of them from the Gambia in West Africa.’

‘He decided to kidnap such a soldier with the help of drug dealers in Birmingham.

‘The soldier would be approached in the Broad Street nightlife area, lured into a car and taken to a lock-up garage and murdered with his head cut off – ‘like a pig’.

‘This atrocity would be filmed. They would have the soldier’s military card to prove who he was.’

Chris Phillips, former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, said: ‘This man cold heartedly and deliberately targeted a British Muslim soldier

‘Anyone who thinks the community will be safer if he is released is bonkers. Early release for terrorists is crazy.’

Khan’s first parole bid in January 2021 was turned down as the board was ‘not satisfied’ that he was suitable for release.

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