Commons cheers deportation of radical cleric Abu Qatada

The home secretary announced the cleric's arrest officially in the House of Commons, to the cheers of MPs.
The home secretary announced the cleric's arrest officially in the House of Commons, to the cheers of MPs.

By Oliver Hotham

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada will be deported, the home secretary has confirmed in a statement to relieved MPs.

Theresa May said the government had received the assurances it needs from the Jordanian government to send Qatada to stand trial, where he faces charges that he plotted bomb attacks against American and Israeli tourists.

He is now expected to appeal his case once again to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.


The home secretary announced the cleric's arrest officially in the House of Commons, to the cheers of MPs.

The home secretary told the House that the deportation "might still take time".

She continued: "The proper processes must be followed and the rule of law must take precedence.

"But today Qatada has been arrested and the deportation is underway."

She confirmed that the government had reached an agreement with the government of Jordan and cited changes to the Jordanian law forbidding the use of evidence obtained by torture being used in trials.

This all makes Qatada's deportation legal, Ms May added.

While the home secretary did not say outright that the ECHR had slowed things down, she did say that the government was looking at examples of other European countries who had deported "dangerous" foreign nationals.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper criticised "a troubling level of confusion this afternoon" about the case.

The European court of human rights previously ruled against sending the radical Muslim cleric back to Jordan to face trial, citing concerns that evidence used against him could have been obtained under torture.

Qatada, once described as Al-Qaida's "spiritual leader" in Europe, has not been convicted of any crime in the United Kingdom, but was being held indefinitely for giving advice to terror cells when the government of Jordan asked he be sent back to face trial. 

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