Abu Qatada bursts May's bubble

Abu Qatada A British, rather than a European court, has caused Theresa May's latest problems over Abu Qatada

David Cameron once said that he got so frustrated with the case of Abu Qatada that he sometimes wanted to get on a plane and deport the terrorist suspect to Jordan himself.

Well, last April the Home Secretary Theresa May had good news for him. She told him that, finally, Qatada's deportation was "under way".

That was clearly somewhat premature. The latest ruling by the special immigration appeals commission ends a long run of good luck for Mrs May.

She had secured the deportation of another radical cleric Abu Hamza. She had prevented the deportation of the computer hacker Gary Mckinnon. Fans were talking up her prospects as a potential Tory leader.

But the Qatada decision pops that particular bubble. A man the government considers to be a security risk is not only avoiding deportation but he is going to be walking the streets of London.


A 10-year campaign to send this man to face trial in Jordan - which has cost the British taxpayer a million pounds - has once again be stymied.

The home secretary has invested a huge amount of time and effort on this, working with the Jordanian government to give the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) the assurances it needs that Qatada would get a fair trial in Jordan and that any witnesses would not be tortured.

And yet a British court in London - not a European court in Strasbourg - has now provided yet another hurdle in the way of the deportation of what Mrs May called "a dangerous man".

Not for nothing did the home secretary say this judgement was "deeply unsatisfactory".

In the Commons, MPs on all sides expressed their frustration and disappointment at the decision.

But some began to say what many in the press and public will echo on Tuesday:

  • that the time has come to ignore the European Court of Human Rights and just put Qatada on a plane
  • that the government made the wrong decision to take the case through the UK courts rather than appeal through the ECHR
  • that the government was wrong to water down anti-terror control orders so that they have fewer ways of controlling Qatada's movements

Ultimately this remains a struggle between the competing interests of public security and support for human rights.

And, much to the government's frustration, the court's interpretation of human rights appears to be winning out.

Downing Street sources insist this is not the end of the road and that they remain confident they will eventually get Qatada deported.

But they - and the home secretary - are lucky that most attention appears still to be focused on the BBC.

This is not the news they wanted - or were expecting. Were it not for the BBC crisis, some at Westminster might have been dusting off the word "omnishambles" from their list of favourite clichés.

Others might even have begun musing over Mrs May's future.

James Landale Article written by James Landale James Landale Deputy political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    The Far Left Liberal & Islamic alliance is in full swing. It reminds me of a cartoon from the 1930.s which showed Hitler & Stalin walking down a Garden Path arms around each other both with a knife in their other hand ! I can only conclude that the far left in their hatred of Israel and the indigenous people and law abiding immigrants of the U.K. have made a Faustian pact. with Radical Islam..

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    "Abu Qatada bursts May's bubble"

    That is a little unfair. This is a quixotic judgement by a notorious judge (Judge John Mitting) who was a NuLabour appointment to this role by Lord Falconer.

    Seems that Theresa May has been polaxed by a timebomb left behind by Labour, so it is very unfair to target her.

    The Government is going to appeal, so let us hope a sensible judge is in charge of the appeal

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    The key issues here are the granting of human rights protection without regard to the actions of the individual and the persistent attempts by a coterie of human rights lawyers and sympathetic judges to keep the gravy train rolling. I wonder how long these cases would last if they had to be done pro bono ?

  • Comment number 66.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Landale says "Ultimately this remains a struggle between the competing interests of public security and support for human rights" but where is the evidence that this man poses a risk to public security? Because the government say so?
    This is a thinly veiled propaganda piece.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    im surprised this poor fellow hasnt got a few 100 grand compensation, like the limbs in the loch bloke in scotland..he got 5 grand for murdering someone. 2 days ago we remembered the people who died for this nonsense, they must be revolving in their graves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    @60 ronnieboy1

    Your right. . . . . . The law abiding, tax paying people of this country have the human right to be protected and feel safe in their daily grind

    What now? They'd just as well line us up for the firing squad. . . . . .after we've dug our own graves of course

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Criminals and terrorists no longer deserve any protection of human rights as they have shown themselves to have no regard for the rights of others. Why should I care less whether or not people like him are subjected to torture and abuse? Chuck him back, forget about him and stop paying lawyers to defend him. In fact, chuck the defence lawyers over there too!

  • Comment number 61.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    is any body surprised. this country is laughable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    May is one of the worst Home Secretaries in a long time, who's long list of incompetancies were forgotton by a few on the tory right for getting rid of a few terrorist suspects to america, and keeping the white guy home (despite more evidence for his alleged crimes)

    That said if we did just stick this guy on the next plane to Jordan what would the court do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Typical really. We can happily extradite people to America, a country where they still use torture and the death penalty, when they've broken no laws in this country but we have to hold on to real terrorists for human rights issues. No wonder the UK is the laughing stock of the world and the first port of call for criminals looking for an easy life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    @49 Little_Old_Me

    Whatever country you are from, you KNOW it is wrong to kill or maim people. If you don't want to suffer the consequences, whatever they may be, the answer is simple . . . . DONT DO IT!!!

    I don't believe for one second that you'd be happy if he lived next door to you!

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    What bubble?
    Failed reform of border controls.
    Prisons seething with foriegn nationals.
    Reoffending FN's due to shoddy deportation procedure.
    Cutting border staff continually.
    Lack of visa controls for non EU.

    Incompetence, complicity, denial of democratic will (e-petition), bare faced lies abound.
    Laughing stock!

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Just this once it's not ECHR's fault. They ruled Qatada wouldn't be mistreated in Jordan and washed their hands of the fair trial issue: a green light. This was entirely Justice Mitting's call.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Still, at least the greedy, corrupt law firms are making money out of this!

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    My word. What has this world come to. I swear Adolf Hitler would be released in this weak, criminal justice system. I hope he doesn't live anywhere near me, I wouldn't let such a man near my family or friends.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    So, are Europe going to compensate us when the next bomb arranged by him and his mob goes off killing and or maiming our people?

    What the hell right do they have to override our laws?

    We should just put him on the plane anyway and suffer the fine when it comes. That way, at least we'd be safer, and what's another few million quid? They rob us blind anyway

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    millions of £s wasted by the government again omnishambles by this government again . time for a change perhaps ? .

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    49. Little_Old_Me 
    .what if it were your loved one

    It would depend I guess if they had been involved in the murder of men women and children, I would guess Adolf Hitler's loved ones would have be faced with the same dilemma. Of course his fanatical supporters and henchmen in the S.S. would do all they could to stop him facing justice also. a case of the moral imperative.


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