An arrest warrant based on a British anti-terrorism law was granted on Saturday (16) for the suspect arrested in connection with the murder of British MP David Amess, police said.
According to the BBC, the man is called Ali Harbi Ali and is 25 years old. He will be detained in London, and the police, for whom the action may have links with Islamic terrorism, have until next Friday (22) to question him and decide whether he will be charged with the crime.
The suspect was detained under the Terrorism Act 2000, the first amendment to the country’s anti-terror regulations, designed to block support and funding for extremist groups operating abroad.
On Friday (15), Amess was killed after being stabbed while meeting with voters at a church in the town of Leigh-on-Sea in Essex County in eastern England.
The parliamentarian, a member of the Conservative Party, was at the Belfairs Methodist Church, the venue chosen for a fortnightly meeting between members of the legislature and their electorate. Witnesses said a man with a knife entered the building and attacked Amess, with no apparent motivation.
The politician even received medical care within the church, but he did not resist his injuries.
This Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid flowers outside the church where, the day before, the legislator was stabbed. Alongside the British leader were Interior Minister Priti Patel and Labor Party leader Keir Starmer. “In memory of David Amess, an excellent parliamentarian and a very dear colleague and friend,” Boris wrote by hand in a note left with the flowers.
The prime minister and Starmer, political rivals, stood side by side in a moment of silence in honor of their dead colleague. Other politicians, as well as members of the police and civilians, attended the site out of respect for Amess.
A devout Catholic, Amess was married and the father of four daughters and one son. He was first elected to Parliament to represent the city of Basildon in 1983 and then ran for the Southend West district in 1997. On his website, he listed “animal welfare and pro-life issues” among the main interests — it was known for being one of the most dedicated anti-abortion activism lawmakers in the country.
According to the British press, Amess called, at the beginning of the year, to improve preventive measures against crimes committed with knives. The parliamentarian also opposed bills that promote LGBTQIA+ rights, such as the one that recognizes the legitimacy of same-sex marriage.
This Friday’s stabbing echoes two cases: in 2010, Stephen Timms, a Labor MP, survived a similar attack in his office. In 2016, MP Jo Cox, also a Labor member, was murdered at the age of 41 by a far-right ultranationalist in the run-up to the referendum in which the British would vote for brexit, the UK’s exit from the EU.