Qatada Deportation Bid: Cleric Back To Prison

April 17th, 20129:31 pm @


Qatada Deportation Bid: Cleric Back To Prison

Radical cleric Abu Qatada is to be locked up in prison as the Home Office prepares a renewed bid to have him deported to Jordan.

The Home Secretary earlier told MPs Qatada could be put on a plane in “full compliance of the law” after Jordan gave assurances that evidence gained through torture would not be used in his terror trial.

Theresa May said British courts had found him to be a “dangerous man” and a serious risk to national security, but she warned an appeal by his lawyers could mean it is many months before he is put on a plane.

Qatada, once described by a judge as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe, was earlier arrested by officers from the UK Border Agency at his home in London.

If the Home Secretary was mightily relieved by the Abu Hamza verdict in Strasbourg last week, now she will feel vindicated over the way she has handled Qatada’s deportation to Jordan

Read chief politicial correspondent Jon Craig’s report on Theresa May’s speech to the Commons


Mrs May said he “deserves to face justice” in Jordan and the Government, which has fought to have him removed from Britain for more than 10 years, has confidence in its “eventual success”.

“We can soon put Qatada on a plane and get him out of our country for good,” she said.

It is understood the earliest he could be deported to Jordan is on or around April 30.

His legal team have said they will fight any moves to deport him.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in January that the cleric could not be sent back without promises that evidence gained through torture would not be used.

Lawyers for the Home Secretary must convince the commission that it has secured these assurances before Qatada is deported.

Theresa May

Theresa May received assurances from the Jordanian authorities


Ms May had to show she has made progress in the case by the start of the month of May, when judges could lift 51-year-old Qatada’s stringent bail conditions.

As Ms May delivered her statement to MPs, the cleric’s legal team were applying for bail at a hearing at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in central London – a bid which ultimately failed.

His lawyers argued the moves for deportation were based on “unsubstantiated claims” and that he would seek to revoke any deportation order, appealing if unsuccessful.


1993: Given asylum in the UK and later granted leave to remain

October 2002: Detained under the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act

March 2005: Released on bail under a control order

August 2005: Served with notice of the intention to deport him. Legal battle begins

February 2009: Law Lords rule he can be deported

January 2012: ECHR says he cannot be sent to Jordan if torture evidence is used

February 2012: Qatada is released on bail under tight conditions

Abu Qatada making a televised appeal from HM Prison Belmarsh


Labour had earlier accused the Government of allowing “too much drift and delay”.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper demanded to know whether Qatada would be on a plane to Amman in “weeks, months or years”, focusing on whether he would still be in Britain when the Olympics – a high-profile terrorist target – begin in July.

Jordan has previously said Qatada would get a fair trial.

Qatada, who is also known as Omar Othman, was convicted in his absence in Jordan of involvement in 1998 terror attacks. He featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the September 11 bombers.

He has been held for six-and-half-years, more than any other detainee in modern immigration history, and has thwarted every attempt by the Government so far to deport him.

Qatada was released on bail from Long Lartin high-security jail, in Worcestershire, in February.

His bail conditions meant he could leave his London home for two one-hour periods each day, was banned from taking his youngest child to school and could not talk to anyone who has not been vetted by the security services.

He was also banned from visiting mosques, leading prayers, giving lectures or preaching, other than to offer advice to his wife and children at home.

A Downing Street spokeswoman told reporters at a regular Westminster briefing that the appeal process still open to Qatada “can take many months” but the Prime Minister was confident he would eventually be deported.

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