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After being denied parole by the Parole Board in 2020 owing to public safety concerns, Ali was freed from jail in 2021 at the completion of his term. The Parole Board bases its judgments on determining whether a prisoner poses a risk to the society and if that risk can be handled in the community.
Admitting the Crimes
While there were concerns about potential terrorist charges, Ali was never prosecuted or convicted of any of them. The Ministry of Justice announced Ali’s release, noting that his license is subject to unknown restrictions.
Arrest and Sentence
Ali, under the alias Weirdos 0000, made a transaction with a supplier on the ‘Dark Web’ – a highly undetectable online criminal market – to acquire 500mg of powder for $500 (£320), enough to kill 1,400 people.
Police swooped in to arrest Ali at his home in Liverpool after he accepted delivery of a toy vehicle with five vials hidden in the battery compartment.
In his defense, Ali said he was simply interested and wanted to explore the limits of the Dark Web, ignorant that ricin was banned. Ali, who has moderate Asperger’s syndrome or autistic features, stared impassively in the dock as the court informed him that carrying a chemical weapon was “much more serious than possessing a firearm.”
‘Ali attempted to acquire a fatal poison and we can only conjecture on what he meant to use it for, but in any instance such as this, we take immediate and decisive action,’ said Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole of the north-west counter-terrorism team.
‘Ricin is a naturally occurring toxin that is lethal even in very small amounts,’ said Sue Hemming of the Crown Prosecution Service after Ali was convicted. Ali was aware of the hazards of ricin and had spent months researching poisons before attempting to get it.