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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Abu Qatada and the Human Rights Convention

David Cameron has finally had enough of the European Court in Strasbourg who keep thwarting Britain's efforts to send hate preacher Abu Qatada back to Jordan.  The European Human Rights Convention won't budge from their conviction that he can't be sent home because he will face terror charges and may be tortured or killed and that possibility violates his human rights.

The PM wants him gone and held a council of war with senior ministers yesterday to try and find a way around the laws that bind them, and he's even threatened to temporarily withdraw from the Human Rights Convention to get the job done.

The UK government has bent over backwards to allay Strasbourg's fears that Qatada won't receive a fair trial back in Jordan because some of the evidence against him was obtained through torture.  They have personal guarantees and assurances from Jordanian authorities that they will not use torture evidence, but the Commission refuses to believe it and every time Qatada appeals, they uphold it.

At the moment he's in jail for breaching his immigration bail conditions, but it won't be long before his lawyers find a way to get him out and back on the streets.

The Labor government had its chance to send him back in 2009 but they failed to act and he has been running rings around the British legal system ever since.

  • 16 September 1993 - He arrives in Britain on a forged passport.
  • June 1994 - he is allowed to stay in Britain
  • March 1995 - He issues a fatwa justifying the killing of anyone in Algeria who converted from Islam, including their wives and children.
  • May 1998 - He applies for indefinite leave to remain in Britain
  • March 1999 - He is convicted in his absence on terror charges in Jordan and sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • October 1999 - He speaks in London of killing Jews and praising attacks on the US
  • February 2001 - He is arrested by anti-terror police over involvement in a plot to bomb Strasbourg Christmas Market.
  • December 2001 - He goes on the run
  • October 2002 - He is arrested and jailed
  • March 2005 - He is freed on conditional bail and placed on control order
  • August 2005 - He is arrested as government seeks to deport him to Jordan
  • April 2008 - The Court of Appeal rules that deporting him would breach his human rights
  • May 2008 - He is granted bail but told to stay inside his home for 22 hours a day.
  • June 2008 - He is released from jail and moves into a 4 bedroom council house worth over $1 million
  • November 2008 - He is re-arrested after it is found he plans to abscond
  • December 2008 - His bail is revoked
  • 18 February 2009 - Five Law Lords back the government's policy to send him back to Jordan but it's not acted upon.
  • 19 February 2009 - He gets around $4,000 compensation from the Human Rights court who rule that his detention without trial in the UK breached his human rights.
  • January 2012 - European judges rule he cannot be deported 
  • 6 February 2012 - Special Immigration Appeals Commission rules he can be released on bail, despite posing a risk to national security.
  • 13 February 2012 - He is released on bail
  • 17 April 2012 - He is arrested as the government prepares to deport him
  • 18 April 2012 - He lodges an appeal which delays his departure by months
  • 6 March 2013 - He is returned to jail after trying to communicate with associates, a breach of his bail
  • 27 March 2013 - Court of Appeal admits he is 'very dangerous' but won't allow deportation
  • 17 April 2013 - Home Office attempts to take its battle to the Supreme Court, but fails.

Home Secretary Theresa May is running out of options.  The three court judges who unanimously dismissed her last attempt in March said "torture is universally abhorred as an evil."

So there you have it, the European Court of Human Rights is Abu Qatada's best friend and with their help, he'll be able to stay in the UK indefinitely.

Edit July 7, 2013: The 53-year-old hate preacher left Belmarsh prison shortly after midnight yesterday in a police convoy. He was taken to RAF Northholt, from where he was flown in a private jet to Jordan.