The family of one of the victims in the recent London attack spoke up against the apparent politicisation of their son’s death.
Jack Merritt (25), a former course coordinator for prisoner rehabilitation, was one of the two casualties during the attack on London Bridge last Friday (Nov 29). Saskia Jones (23, a volunteer for criminal justice organisations, was the other victim.
Merritt’s family released a statement regarding his death and demanded that his murder not be “exploited” for political agendas.
“We know Jack would not want this terrible, isolated incident to be used as a pretext by the government for introducing even more draconian sentences on prisoners, or for detaining people in prison for longer than necessary,” the family said as quoted in an initial report by The Guardian.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of exploiting the deaths of the two young victims to benefit himself for the Dec 12 election.
PM Johnson and the Conservative party have long championed strict police and prison measures but were also criticised for cutting funds to public services.
“You can’t keep people safe on the cheap,” he previously said in a speech.
The PM vows to invest even more in the prison systems and toughen sentences on criminals following the early release of the London attack suspect Usman Khan who was formerly convicted of terror charges in 2010.
PM Johnson also blamed his main political opponent Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party for enacting a law which provided “automatic early release” for some prisoners.
However, the Conservative government reportedly scrapped the indeterminate public protection (IPP) sentence in 2012 and a 2013 appeal reduced sentences to 16 years.
Corbyn responded and said that convicted terrorists need “not necessarily” serve the full prison term.
“It depends on the circumstances, it depends on the sentence, but crucially it depends on what they’ve done in the prison,” Corbyn said as quoted in a report by Reuters.
Usman Khan was shot dead by police during the confrontation, but he killed Merritt and Jones and injured three others during his attack./TISG