By Bill Gardner
Daily Telegraph – 19 February 2019
The ancient law of treason may be rewritten to make it easier to prosecute returning jihadists, the Home Secretary has said. Sajid Javid said yesterday that the idea of updating the 650-year-old legislation to catch home-grown extremists was "worth looking at carefully".
It comes amid concerns that too many jihadists and their brides escape prosecution after returning to Britain. Ministers are examining ways to legally prevent 19-year-old Shamima Begum from returning to the UK after she ran away from London to join Isil.
The young mother yesterday indicated that she was prepared to be jailed if authorities granted her wish to return to Britain with her newborn son. But Mr Javid said yesterday that he would do everything in his power
"Quite simply, if you back terror, there must be consequences",
MPs, however, raised concerns that current laws were too restrictive, with only 40 of around 360 jihadists so far having been convicted of any offence.
Julian Lewis, the chairman of the Defence Select Committee, called for Parliament to restore the law of treason, citing an article by Oxford professor Richard Ekins in the Sunday Telegraph, which argued that current laws failed to
"address the wickedness of choosing to side with your country's enemies".
Mr Javid said:
"I have read that article ... and I think it's worth looking at carefully."
The Treason Act 1351 was designed to punish people plotting the death of the monarch or "adhering to the King's Enemies".