Skip to comments.Reid Wins Battle To Deport Cleric (UK)
Posted on 02/26/2007 3:14:51 PM PST by blam
Reid wins battle to deport cleric
By Philip Johnston and Joshua Rozenberg
Last Updated: 5:47pm GMT 26/02/2007
The Home Office has won a key legal victory in a five-year battle to eject a suspected al-Qaeda terror leader from Britain.
Abu Qatada arrived in Britain illegally in 1993
A court ruled that Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim cleric described as Osama bin Ladens spiritual representative in Europe, can be deported to his homeland.
Qatada, a London-based imam, has been fighting Government efforts to remove him to Jordan since 2002 claiming he faces torture or death. His lawyers argued that under human rights laws, Britain was unable to deport him to a country where he could be ill-treated.
But the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) said assurances received from Lebanon about his treatment were enough to override human rights obstacles.
Mr Justice Ouseley, the Siac chairman, said there was "no real risk of persecution" of Qatada on his return.
Although a trial in Jordan would not be independent enough to satisfy the Human Rights Convention, it would "not involve a complete denial of the right to a fair trial before an independent and impartial body," the court said.
Siac said Qatadas presence in the UK was "not conducive to the public good" and there was no evidence that his views had moderated since he was first detained in 2002.
His deportation would make "the lives and well-being of those resident here safer". It was necessary "as a measure of defence for the rights of those who live here".
The ruling was greeted by ministers as a vindication of their policy of negotiating memoranda of understanding with countries to which they want to deport suspected Islamists.
Many of them, including Qatada, were kept in jail without charge after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in America but were subsequently released after the policy was ruled unlawful.
Since then, most have been subject to control orders restricting their movements and contacts. Qatada has been held in immigration detention pending deportation.
Agreements have been sought with countries like Morocco and Algeria - but Jordan was seen as a test case because its judicial regime is considered to be among the more benign.
John Reid, the Home Secretary, said: "It is our firm belief that these agreements strike the right balance between allowing us to deport individuals who threaten the security of this country and safeguarding the rights of these individuals on their return."
However, the matter is far from over. Qatadas legal team said he would appeal and human rights campaigners denounced the Siac decision.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said "paper promises" that there would be no ill-treatment were insufficient.
"Dodgy little 'assurances from regimes that practise torture convince few outside government," she added.
Qatada, 45, also known as Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, fled Jordan in the mid-1990s and was later tried and convicted in absentia on terrorist charges.
Gareth Peirce, representing Qatada, said he would face a retrial by a military court in Jordan. "Because trials of his co-accused have already taken place in Jordan, we know that the evidence was obtained by the use of torture, during 50 days of incommunicado detention. One of the primary defence witnesses has already been executed in Jordan."
She said Jordan had refused to give an assurance that her client would not face trial on other offences, for which he could be sentenced to death. That amounted to a denial of justice, which was a bar to deportation, she maintained.
Tim Hancock, of Amnesty International UK, said it was of "profound concern" that Siac had discounted evidence showing the risk of torture if Qatada was returned to Jordan. This included material documenting the "routine infliction of torture on 'security suspects in Jordan...a practice which continues with impunity".
Qatada became one of the UKs most wanted men in December 2001 when he went on the run on the eve of moves to introduce new anti-terror laws. He has been described in court as the most significant extremist Islamic preacher in the UK and the Spanish called him bin Ladens ''ambassador to Europe."
However, Qatada, a Palestinian, has always denied links to al-Qa'eda and says he has never met its leader.
Lord Carlile of Berriew, the independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, said it was in Jordans interests to honour the assurances it had given.
"Britain and Jordan have a long history of working together on various international issues. Jordan will not wish to alienate the United Kingdom," he added.
Shahid Malik, Labour MP for Dewsbury and chairman of the Parliamentary Group on British Victims of Terror, said: ''No country takes lightly a memorandum of understanding that it has signed. I am confident that Jordan will respect the memorandum."
Terrific! Only 5 years to accomplish this.
He should receive a special "deportation" consisting of ejection over Jordan at 30,000 feet without a parachute.
A quiet little .22 Short would have done it better and right away. .
And all they want to do is export him.
Any of us who are not The Annointed, such as Chomsky et al could not get away with always advocating the overthrow of our government by violent means, could we? Why the fuss over these people? Due Process should always be a safeguard for the innocent, or someone who MIGHT be innocent, but when someone openly and notoriously screams their guilt daily for years, then patience should wear a little thin. What possible redeeming qualities are there for someone like this?
Remember Friends...The Lower Thames is tidal. Use it.
You can tell from the photo that he is a friendly, affable, nice guy, the sort who would be an asset as a U.K. citizen. I object to all this turmoil resulting in his deportation from Great Britain. (sarc., of course)
FYI. The Thames and Rhine were once the same river.
Looks like the civilized world received the memo. Five years sends the signal of we are not at war! Another probe.
FYI. The Thames and Rhine were once the same river.
Before the last round of real Global Warming! What, 50,000 years or so?
Funny, I was reading "Sarum" a while ago and it had a fictional account of the early peoples' observation of the Channel Breakthrough.