The Parole Board decision to release Nazar Hussain, convicted of manslaughter in 2003, has been condemned as “absolutely scandalous” by a council leader.
Eight members of the Chishti family died following a petrol bomb attack on their house in Osborne Road, Birkby, Huddersfield, in May 2002.
Although Hussain did not throw the petrol bombs he was at the scene and had obtained petrol for the attack.
The decision to release him has been criticised by Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan who said: “This decision suggests that each life lost is worth about one year in prison, which is absolutely scandalous.”
Coun Khan said the authorities had not given a public explanation for the decision.
“The sentence served is just a complete insult to the suffering that the family are going through. Members of the community, since finding out about this, are very angry and in disbelief.”
Coun Khan has asked local members of parliament to raise his concerns in the Commons.
“The system doesn’t give the victims the opportunity to have their views made available to the Parole Board and this needs changing as soon as possible.”
Mohammed Shafiq, who escaped the house fire, was reported to be shocked that Hussain had been released.
Hussain, of Huddersfield, who was convicted of eight counts of manslaughter, was released on licence after a Parole Board review.
The instigator of the attack was jailed for life for eight counts of murder and another suspect, Shahid Mohammed, fled and is still wanted by police.
A Probation Trust spokeswoman said some offenders sentenced before the Criminal Justice Act 2003 become eligible for parole half way through their sentence.
The Parole Board considered the views of the victim or victim’s family, she said.