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World

REUTERS
November 1, 2019

Coroner investigating the London Bridge terror attack urges for new online laws

World

REUTERS
Fri, Nov 01, 2019
48 people were seriously injured when extremists in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before attacking people.Photo. AFP/file 

London: Britain's chief coroner Mark Lucraft — who is investigating the 2017 London Bridge terror attacks — on Friday called for new laws to eliminate "offensive and shocking" propaganda from the internet.

Lucraft said the country's Intelligence agencies and police are currently powerless in trying to prevent people from viewing such content online.

"While there are offences on possessing a document likely to be useful to a person in committing an act of terrorism... and of disseminating terrorist publications, there is no offence on possessing terrorist or extremist propaganda material," Lucraft stated in a report. 

"It may be impossible to take action even when the material is of the most offensive and shocking character," he said.

"The evidence at the inquests indicates to me that the lack of such an offence may sometimes prevent counter-terror police taking disruptive action which could be valuable in their work of combating terrorism," he added.

Lucraft is in charge of establishing the causes and circumstances that led to the death of eight people.

Some 48 people were also seriously injured when extremists in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before attacking people at random.

Among the victims, Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were shot dead by police.

The coroner highlighted 18 "matters of concern" in the report, which warned that there was "a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken".

Butt had looked at extremist material created by the Islamic State group online in the months before the attack.

Lawyer Helen Boniface — who represented six of the victims' families in the inquest — said that she was "pleased the chief coroner has recognised the risks presented by hateful extremism and terrorist propaganda —possession of which must be taken seriously".