Radical cleric in Britain wins another appeal
LONDON — The British government on Wednesday lost another bid to deport a radical Muslim preacher to face trial in Jordan when a court of appeals rejected a request to reconsider an earlier court decision.
After more than a decade of judgments and appeals in British and European courts, cleric Abu Qatada has won several legal battles against deportation.
“This is not the end of the road, and the government remains determined to deport Abu Qatada,” said a Home Office spokesperson after the judgment.
Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, was once described by a Spanish judge as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe. He remains imprisoned as a terrorism suspect in a high-security British prison.
The Palestinian-born preacher entered Britain as an asylum seeker in 1993 from Jordan, where he is wanted for retrial on terrorism conspiracy charges. He was convicted there in absentia on the charges.
Qatada has avoided extradition on the grounds that evidence against him was procured from witnesses under torture, and British judges remain skeptical that any future trial he would face in Jordan would not preclude torture-based evidence.
British law forbids extradition to countries where torture is practiced.
He was first arrested in 2001 under Britain's post-9/11 revamped anti-terrorism laws for his preaching of terrorist violence against Western targets. Since then he has never been charged but has been in and out of jail and house arrest as various British home secretaries have sought to deport him.
Qatada won a previous appeal in November when the London-based special immigrations court ruled he would face an unfair trial in Jordan, despite the British Home Office attempts to reach agreement with Jordan on a retrial free of testimony obtained through torture.
Qatada was rearrested this month while at home for breaching strict bail conditions.
The decision by judges John Dyson, Stephen Richards and Patrick Elias recognized the cleric “is considered to be a dangerous and controversial person,” but added that was not relevant to the issues raised on this appeal.
“It would be equally irrelevant if we were deciding the question whether there was a real risk that he would be tortured if he were returned to Jordan,” they found.
The judges agreed with last November's immigration appeals court that there was “a real risk that evidence obtained by torture would be admitted at the retrial and that, as a consequence, there was a real risk that he would be subject to a flagrant denial of justice.”
Home Secretary Theresa May now faces dwindling options in seeking to deport Qatada. “We continue to work with the Jordanians to address the outstanding legal issues preventing deportation,” the Home Office spokesman said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hong Kong protests grow on Communist holiday
- Reports say China fears doves of war
- ISIS’ message of terror heeded in Pakistan, China, Africa
- Donetsk rattled by explosions; airport at risk
- Britain’s Cameron vows to cut taxes, deficit, EU powers
- Obama, India PM forge deals on major issues
- Coalition airstrikes fail to slow ISIS attacks on key cities
- Unrest, fatalities challenge shaky cease-fire in Ukraine
- 10,000 U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan as security treaty is finally signed
- Venezuela’s Maduro says airlines wage ‘economic war’
- U.S.-led strikes hit IS-held oil sites in Syria