Qatada to be deported

By politics.co.uk

A radical Islamic preacher once dubbed Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe is to be deported following a ruling in Britain’s highest court.

Jordanian-national Abu Qatada has been convicted of terrorism charges in his homeland but claims he will be tortured on his return.

The UK government claimed the 48-year-old, who was granted asylum on a false passport 16 years ago, is a significant threat to UK security.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith today welcomed the law lords ruling, which overturns an earlier edict from the court of appeal.

“I’m delighted with the Lords’ decision today,” she told inthenews.co.uk.

“My top priority is to protect public safety and ensure national security and I have signed Abu Qatada’s deportation order which will be served on him today. I am keen to deport this dangerous individual as soon as I can.”

Qatada may yet appeal against the lords’ ruling and take his case to the European court of human rights.

The preacher, who has issued several fatwas during his time in Britain, was convicted in his absence in Jordan in 1999 but is wanted on terror charges in the US, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

He was subject to a 22-hour curfew by immigration officials last year but was returned to jail after breaching the terms of his bail.