LEIGH-ON-SEA, England (AP) – The father of a man detained for stabbing a British lawmaker during a meeting with local voters told British media he was shocked and ‘traumatized’ by the arrest of her son, while police continued to question the suspect under anti-terrorism laws.
Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to the Somali prime minister, said counterterrorism police visited him, according to the Sunday Times.
“I feel very traumatized. It’s not something I expected or even dreamed of, ”he is said to have said.
British authorities did not disclose the name of the suspect in the murder of 69-year-old Conservative lawmaker David Amess on Friday, but British media reported the suspect was Ali Harbi Ali, 25, who is believed to be a native British citizen Somali.
Amess, a longtime lawmaker, has been stabbed multiple times during a regular meeting with his constituents at a church in Leigh-on-Sea, a town about 62 kilometers east of London.
The Metropolitan Police described the attack as terrorism and said initial investigations suggested “a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism”, without giving details.
It is not known what, if any, the suspect’s connection to Amess.
Police were given additional time to question the suspect, who was arrested on suspicion of murder but has yet to be charged. The BBC and others have reported that the suspect was referred to a government program aimed at preventing people from supporting extremism a few years ago, but said he was not of official interest for security services.
Many residents of the seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea laid flowers in tribute to Amess, a father of five who has served in parliament since 1983 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015. A church service in the city is expected later. Sunday. In north London, police investigating the murder continued to search an apartment and another address, as police stood guard outside.
Friday’s murder rekindled concerns over risks politicians run in the line of duty. The attack came five years after Labor MP Jo Cox was killed by a far-right extremist in her West Yorkshire constituency.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Sunday officials were reviewing security arrangements for lawmakers and that the measures being considered include protecting the police in regular meetings, called “surgeries,” between lawmakers and their officials. voters.
But Patel added that she didn’t believe Amess’s murder should change the relationship between lawmakers and their constituents.
“It should never, ever sever the link between an elected official and his democratic role, his responsibility and duty to the people who elected him,” she told Sky News on Sunday.
Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said he was working closely with the Home Office and police to identify ways to improve the safety of lawmakers. But, like Patel, he said “we shouldn’t be hiding”.
“The very essence of being a Member of Parliament (MP) is to help and be seen by our constituents. They are the ones who elected us to represent them, so making ourselves available to them is surely the cornerstone of our democracy? Hoyle wrote in The Observer and Mail on Sunday.
The Somali Council of Organizations, which works with Somali communities across the UK, condemned the murder, saying it was an “affront to all of our values and to our democratic society itself”.