British police on Thursday charged a 25-year-old Londoner of Somali heritage with stabbing a lawmaker to death in a church, a case that has raised fears about the safety of elected politicians.
Prosecutor James Cable told the court that Ali Harbi Ali, the son of an ex-media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia, had described himself as affiliated to Islamic State and had planned for years to kill a member of parliament.
The killing of 69-year-old David Amess – five years after another British member of parliament was murdered on the street – has prompted calls for better protection of lawmakers.
Amess, a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, was knifed repeatedly last Friday in the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, northeast of London, where he had been meeting constituents. Paramedics tried to save him on the floor of the church, but in vain.
Ali has been charged with murder and preparing acts of terrorism, police said.
Appearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, Ali spoke only to confirm his name, age and address. He was remanded in custody and will appear at the Old Bailey criminal court later today.