UK soldier’s killer appeals life sentence

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iol pic wld britain soldier-sentence AFP A framed photograph of Lee Rigby lies amongst floral tributes outside Woolwich Barracks in London. Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS

London - A British man sentenced to life in jail without parole for butchering a soldier to death in a London street has appealed against his conviction, the Judicial Office said on Tuesday.

Michael Adebolajo, 29, a self-declared “soldier of Allah”, is serving a whole life term for murdering Lee Rigby in broad daylight outside his barracks in May 2013.

He and Michael Adebowale, 22, were found guilty in December of ploughing into the soldier with a car before attacking him with knives in Woolwich, southeast London.

Sentencing the pair in February, judge Nigel Sweeney ruled that Adebolajo, who has two children and four stepchildren, was the plot leader and had “no real prospect of rehabilitation”.

He ordered him to join a select group of 53 people serving whole life terms in England and Wales, including some of the country's most notorious killers.

Adebowale's younger age, mental health problems and “lesser role” meant he escaped the whole life term, and was instead given life with a minimum of 45 years.

Prisoners given whole life terms cannot be released except at the discretion of the justice secretary or on compassionate grounds.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in July last year that the absence of any hope of release violated prisoners' human rights, calling the sentences “inhuman and degrading”.

But in February, five judges at England's Court of Appeal upheld the principle, saying the sentences were “entirely compatible” with the European human rights convention.

Sweeney postponed his sentencing of Rigby's killers until after the ruling. - AFP


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