UK & World News
Abu Qatada: Jordan 'Pledges Fair Trial'
The Jordanian government will do everything possible to ensure radical cleric Abu Qatada is given a fair trial "because the eyes of the world will be on them", judges at the Court of Appeal in London have been told.
Lawyers for Home Secretary Theresa May made the claim as they launched the latest attempt to have the 52-year-old preacher deported to Jordan to stand trial on terrorism charges.
The appeal hearing follows a decision by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) on November 12, 2012 to block Qatada's deportation.
Immigration judges ruled then that there was a "real risk" that evidence obtained by torturing witnesses would be used in any trial against the cleric.
At the start of the case in London, James Eadie QC, representing the Home Secretary, said the Jordanian courts could be trusted.
He said: "There is no real risk of a flagrant denial of justice. The Jordanian courts will consider all the evidence."
Mr Eadie added: "They will do so in the light of the fact that there is likely to be a live issue as to whether or not statements were obtained by torture."
He said there was a prohibition in Jordan against evidence obtained by torture and added: "There is no reason to suppose that the Jordanian courts would approach these issues in a flagrantly unfair way.
"There is no reason to suppose they would not consider all the evidence before them.'"
The case was later adjourned for a decision before Easter.
Mrs May has described Qatada as "a dangerous man, a suspected terrorist, who is accused of serious crime in his home country of Jordan".
UK Border Force officers and counter-terrorism police re-arrested him at the weekend for allegedly breaching his strict bail conditions.
He was detained at his family home in north west London.
On Saturday, SIAC judges ruled he should be sent to Belmarsh prison in south-east London while the alleged breach is investigated.
A SIAC hearing is scheduled for March 21 to consider the matter.
As he opened his argument at the Court of Appeal, Mr Eadie revealed a police search of Qatada's home had recovered mobile phones and other electronic items, which are prohibited under his bail conditions.
Lord Dyson, sitting with Lord Justice Elias and Lord Justice Richards, said the arrest was irrelevant to the appeal hearing.
Edward Fitzgerald QC, appearing for Qatada, said it was "entirely reasonable and rational" to conclude there was a real risk of torture evidence being used against the cleric in Jordan.
He went on to accuse Ms May of "seeking to create points of law where none in fact exist".
Qatada has been convicted in absentia by the Jordanian courts of plotting terror attacks against Israeli and western targets.
If returned to Jordan, where he grew up, the radical preacher would face a fresh trial.
For much of the last decade, Qatada has been detained in UK jails, having never been charged or convicted of any crime in this country.
For several years, he has been fighting a high-profile battle against deportation, using human rights laws.
Successive Home Secretaries have tried, but so far failed, to deport him.