Govt to fight Qatada's appeal

Qatada is under worldwide embargo by United Nations security council committee 1267 for his close ties to Al-Qaida.
Qatada is under worldwide embargo by United Nations security council committee 1267 for his close ties to Al-Qaida.

By Oliver Hotham

The government's legal representatives are writing to the European court of human rights (ECHR) to insist that the court rejects Abu Qatada's new appeal.

The Home Office is insisting that the radical cleric, who is resisting deportation to Jordan, appealed to the ECHR at too late a date.

Justice secretary Ken Clarke told the Today programme this morning that too much was being made of the decision by Qatada's lawyers to appeal and dismissed it as "procedural wrangle"

"The key thing is when will we get the decision that we want, which is for him to be deported to Jordan with assurances that evidence from torture won't be used," he continued.


Home secretary Theresa May reiterated in a written statement to the House of Commons that "the process of deporting Abu Qatada is likely to take many months".

She continued: "That he has sought to delay that process by applying for a referral to the [ECHR] after the deadline had passed is evidence of the strength of our arguments and the likelihood of our eventual success in removing him from Britain for good."

The European court had been blocking the radical cleric's deportation from the UK for months, saying that the possibility that evidence obtained under torture would be used in Qatada's trial meant they could not allow it.

But on Tuesday the Home Office announced it had received all the necessary assurances from the Jordanian government that this would not be the case.

Qatada's lawyers have sent a last-minute appeal to the ECHR, meaning the government must wait for the ECHR to review his case before he can be deported.

In an urgent question in the House of Commons today, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper demanded the Home Office publish evidence that they did not make a mistake about Qatada's appeal deadline.

"The confusion and chaos has turned into farce," she told MPs.

The home secretary defended the government, citing their swift move to arrest Qatada as soon as they were able to. She denied that the government had got the date of Qatada's deadline wrong, citing error on the part of his lawyers.

Qatada is under worldwide embargo by United Nations security council committee 1267 for his close ties to Al-Qaida.

He was arrested, but never convicted, in the UK in 2002 for allegedly advising Jihadist terror cells and faces trial in Jordan for plotting bombings against civilians.

Comments

Load in comments