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.

'Unsatisfactory'

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
    +1

    Comment number 89.

    88.swerdna

    "...So why don't they make a law..."

    ===

    There's no need. The position as it is provides for his removal. Just as existing anti-squatting law was perhaps sometimes cynically not enforced by the police, (because that provided a platform for an attack on our liberties), so this is a useful tool for manipulation of public opinion.

    He could be tried for alleged EU crimes.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 88.

    For too long, our politicians have been unable to get get rid of foreign criminals, illegal immigrants & hard core foreign religious fanatics preaching terrorist propaganda. They can't do it because the law prevents them.
    But it's the job of politicians to make the law. So why don't they make a law that stops ALL non UK citizens from claiming ALL benefits and gets rid of ALL foreign illegals?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 87.

    85.PeterReidfaePeterHeidisdeidVolvoforsale

    "...How is this incompetence by May?..."

    ===

    Because she purported to speak authoritatively in the House, before taking learned advice as to the true position.

    She knew the law was complex, yet apparently asserted her own version of the position, perhaps just because she thought it would play well.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 86.

    After a bit of reading it seems the EU laws re:carriers responsible for costs of removal of non EU citizen with fasle documentation to EU country of transit or original departure point.
    Council Directive 2001/51/EC
    Can we claim the costs back for his legal aid from the carrier that brought him here (max 500,000 EU) as he did arrive with false docs which is the responsibility of the carrier?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 85.

    To Hamish @77. How is this incompetence by May? She has been overruled by the court. If anything this is incompetence by the Judge. I have no time for any politician in this country however it is easy to Jump on the bandwagon and criticise people. The BBC, s reporting in recent years on all manner of subjects would have you believe that the world is falling apart.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 84.

    7.P_Synthesis

    "...What no news outlet has yet given is the reason why Siac wasn't satisfied with the assurances of Jordan..."

    ===

    This BBC site published the link to the judgment. Its reasoning is rightly detailed and painstaking.

    Its main points have been aired though:

    http://www.siac.tribunals.gov.uk/Documents/Othman_substantive_judgment.pdf

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 82.

    Yet another example of how British Justice has lost its way and become an irrelevance to the man in the street.
    The allocation of limited resources means that: -
    1. Lawyers are drawn away from sorting out the problems of ordinary people into commercial or grandiose government projects.
    2. Taxpayers' money cannot pay legal aid as well as this other stuff.

    Further degradation of our society.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 81.

    1.Will
    Shame you can't stay here longer hope you enjoyed your stay - very refreshing to see other nationalities appreciating what UK has to offer and represents for a change.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 80.

    12k fine, send him back to jordan, i'm sure we can tack that onto this week's Children in need fund raiser this week, and it would be the best money spent this decade!

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 79.

    78. ToryBoy 


    Accepting the 'rule of law' is far more important than the career prospects of Theresa.
    Deporting people to a country governed by rich royalist thugs, with a reputation for torturing suspects should not even be considered.
    Theresa's future? she will be OK.
    She once stood in the constituency where I live.


    Even Sharia Law it seems

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 78.

    Accepting the 'rule of law' is far more important than the career prospects of Theresa.
    Deporting people to a country governed by rich royalist thugs, with a reputation for torturing suspects should not even be considered.
    Theresa's future? she will be OK.
    She once stood in the constituency where I live.
    The local Tories tell me she was the worst candidate they ever had.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 77.

    Yet more incompetence from May. Time for the Conservatives to lose yet another Minister.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 76.

    This situation is so mind-numbingly ridiculous you wouldn't believe it if it was in a book of fiction. What jokers do we have sitting in these courts that come to a decision like this? If you think he isn't a threat to the UK, let him and his tribe move in with you. Share you home with him if he's that safe. We need to get very tough very fast. Send him back, get a £12k fine like France did.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 75.

    Simple question: If we were to just put him on a plane and fly him to Jordan without the courts approval, what would happen?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 74.

    68. Crowded Island is spot on.

    When I found out this "Judge" was a NuLabour man, his dangerous decision made sense to me - as did the BBC's reaction to it. "Hurt the Tories, May's getting a bit too good". Just like the Newsnight scandal "Quick, hurt the Tories, we're getting too much stick from this Savile scandal".

    So keen to put the knife in you shoot yourselves in the foot! Again.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 73.

    It's a 'green light' for any hater of Britian and everything she stands for

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 72.

    Why say this James Landale “Others might even have begun musing over Mrs. May's future “as there is really no reason for it. This is yet more cheap scare mongering from you and YET AGAIN another strange attempt to embellish your story. Whilst the BBC is currently cleaning up its act perhaps they should cast their gaze over you.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 71.

    If I do not want someone in my house, I throw them out. But I do not care where they go, once they are out of my house.

    Maybe we should take the same approach with Abu Qatada. We do not want him in the UK, so he must leave. If he doesn't want to go 'home' to Jordan, it's up to him to find a country that will have him... but that's not our problem.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 70.

    What more can you expect from a Labour appointed left wing apparachik.
    This is a judgement of treacherous proportions and we shall all eventually pay the cost.

 

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