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Charges in Murder of UK Lawmaker Cite Terrorism

Ali Harbi Ali accused of fatally stabbing David Amess
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2021 10:00 AM CDT
Updated Oct 21, 2021 8:16 AM CDT
British MP Fatally Stabbed at Church
Emergency services at the scene near the Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, where Conservative MP Sir David Amess has reportedly been stabbed several times at a constituency surgery, in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, on Friday.   (Nick Ansell/PA via AP)

(Newser) Update: A 25-year-old native of Somalia has been charged in last week's slaying of a UK lawmaker, reports the BBC. Ali Harbi Ali was arrested soon after the attack on MP David Amess while the lawmaker was meeting with constituents. "We will submit to the court that this murder has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations," said Nick Price of the Crown Prosecution Service, per the AP. "He has also been charged with the preparation of terrorist acts." Our original story from Oct. 15 follows:

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British Conservative Party lawmaker David Amess died Friday after he was stabbed while meeting with constituents at a church. The 69-year-old father of five, who'd represented Southend West in Essex since 1997, was holding a meeting at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea when a man walked in and stabbed him numerous times, per the Guardian and Sky News. Essex police say they arrested a man and recovered a knife after responding to reports just after noon local time, per the New York Times.

"We are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident and do not believe there is an ongoing threat to the wider public," police added, putting out a call for footage. It was later revealed that Amess—dedicated to animal welfare and pro-life issues, per Reutershad died. The stabbing fits into a pattern of attacks against British lawmakers. A right-wing extremist fatally stabbed Labour lawmaker Jo Cox ahead of a planned meeting with constituents in 2016. Before that, a student reportedly inspired by al-Qaeda twice stabbed Labour lawmaker Stephen Timms at a constituency meeting in 2010; he survived.

And a decade earlier, Andrew Pennington, an assistant to Liberal Democrat lawmaker Nigel Jones, was fatally stabbed while trying to protect the MP from a man with a sword who’d stormed his constituency office, per the Guardian. The outlet reports counter-terrorism police are helping investigate this latest crime. Timms tweeted that he was "appalled" by the reports. Cox's widower, Brendan Cox, said the "attack on democracy itself" was "as cowardly as it gets." (Read more stabbing attack stories.)

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