UK & World News
Radical Qatada Blocks Deportation With Appeal
The Government is locked in dispute with lawyers representing the alleged terrorist agitator Abu Qatada over the meaning of "three months" - arguing that he has missed a deadline for an appeal against his extradition to Jordan.
The Home Office claims his appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), lodged on Wednesday, is 24 hours too late, while it tries to stop him putting another road block on the route to his expulsion from the UK.
Home Secretary Theresa May told Sky News: "This is a delaying tactic from Abu Qatada and his lawyers.
"I am not at all surprised he's attempting to delay these proceedings.
"We have a very strong case for deportation... and of course it was only several hours after he and his lawyers had seen the strength of our case, of the Government's case, that they decided to make this referral."
She continued: "We will wait to see the decision of the European Court. Then we will resume deportation.
"I recognise the frustration that the British public have... but I think it is right that we follow the proper, legal processes.
"I am also clear that we have the case now to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan."
Prime Minister David Cameron later told reporters: "I am absolutely clear, the entire Government is clear, and frankly, I think the country is clear, that this man has no right to be in our country.
"He is a threat to our security, he has absolutely no further call on our hospitality, and he should be deported.
"That is what we are determined to achieve, no matter how difficult it is, no matter how long it will take. It will be done."
However, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has called on Mrs May to address the Commons to "clear up this shambles" and inform MPs on the latest developments.
"I don't think the Government should give Abu Qatada any legal loopholes, or create any legal loopholes, that he and his lawyers can take advantage of," she said.
"That's why I think this confusion and chaos over what date the deadline is really matters.
"The Home Office should have contacted the European Court to get the dates agreed in advance so there couldn't be any opportunity for Abu Qatada or his lawyers to do this."
On Monday, Mrs May announced that his "deportation might still take time - the proper processes must be followed and the rule of law must take precedence".
But she appeared to have been advised that his opportunity to appeal against the January 17 ruling from the European Court of Human Rights had passed.
That ruling found that the UK could not extradite Qatada to face terrorism related charges in Jordan because there was a risk of his being tried using evidence gathered from two other witnesses under torture.
But, crucially for the Government, the ruling accepted the principle that if the UK could get assurances from Jordan that evidence obtained under torture would not be used, and that Qatada would not face the death penalty or other sanctions which are illegal in Europe, he could be deported.
Jordan agreed to offer these assurances - which triggered the UK deportation process.
Qatada, once described as Osama bin Laden's representative in Europe, was already expected to appeal against this once the proceedings got underway following his re-arrest in London on Tuesday. These could have dragged on for months.
The 51-year-old has fought off every attempt to deport him to Jordan, where he has been convicted in absentia of terror charges in 1989.
The latest efforts to send him to the Middle East were the result of direct appeals by the British to King Abdullah II of Jordan.
Now a panel of judges at the European Court will take "up to several weeks" to decide firstly whether his lawyers made the deadline for the appeal or not, and then whether to advance it to the Grand Chamber.
The move comes as the 47 member nations of the Council of Europe prepare to meet in Brighton on Thursday for talks aimed at reforming the court and the types of cases it hears.
Qatada, who was born in Bethlehem then part of Jordan, featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the September 11 bombers.
A Home Office spokesman said: "Qatada has no right to refer the case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, since the three-month deadline to do so lapsed at midnight on Monday night.
"His case should be heard in British courts, as the Home Secretary outlined to Parliament. In the meantime, he remains in custody."
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said that the Government would oppose any bail application which followed from the latest attempt by Abu Qatada to appeal "vigorously".
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what do you think?
100 days to the Olympic Games, what odds that he will still be here
Windows Live User
A sad thought
Priceless! If you had any back bone Mrs may you would ignore this foreign kangaroo court and boot him out! And win a lot of support
Windows Live User
Mrs May. Ignore the Human Right judges and continue on the path of a quick deportation. He has charges to face there.
we have just became the laughing stock of the world for another day. Another clueless goverment like labour. Why dont we import the italian goverment for the day . They know how to get rid of terrorists . Or even vote for the bnp. Why are we paying for more failier and incompetence
Boot him out what are the european court going to do fine us. Italy just did the same and got a fine of two thousand five hundred think thats worth paying to get rid of him
Only for another 3yrs... Then in 2015 we'll get the chance to elect another batch of fools!
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kick him out he is not wanted over here - more time wasting.
West Middlesex MCC
kick him and his legal team out, and they can take all their "Brothers" with them... To much time and money wasted on this muppet, it's time he was gone.
human rights what about the poor victims of these extremists/terrorists..what of the victims and intended victims human rights? why should we have to put up with these hardened criminals? send them back to where they belong and let them face the consequences of their extreme cowardly actions in their own country.who cares what happens to them when we are free of these criminals..The so called European laws are costing this country a fortune. we are being dictated to and to think this country fought in two world wars against dictatorship.
I would deport our whole Government quite frankly! S@ckless the lot of them! If France's Sarkozy can deport whole communities of Romanians against the wishes of ECHR without any repercussions whatsoever then there is no excuse for this. Is Cameron not in charge then??
Yeah, BritMum for Prime Minister! Can I be in your Cabinet?
I think that the vast majority of voters in this country have lost patience with the Government, British political parties, the judiciary and our flawed legal system. Why are they all so anxious to spend billions of taxpayers hard earnt contributions on completely irrelevant issues to the majority who pay their keep? We employ all of these politicians, lawyers, judges and government officials so why do we continue to put up with their highly wasteful and flawed ideals? They are deliberately expanding administrative and the legal processes for their own ends - not for us. Let us make it clear, our laws are there in the first place to protect OUR interests as citizens of this country - not everyone who comes here looking after their own hide. Who rules our country? Legal eagles or those we elect? Whose law is paramount? That passed and supposedly enacted by our elected politicians - or a bunch of foriegners in a far off European court? Time for this Government and the political parties to make up their minds - do they rule or not? If they have no real powers - let us cut them down to size and save on administrative costs and thereby cut our huge tax bills!!
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Harriett Mavis Goodey
What a load of muppets!! No other country takes any notice, they just deport them. He is laughing at us. Dump him on the steps of the EU Court perhaps they would like to look after him.These people and their families are costing us a fortune. I know these legal guys are only interested in money but I find it hard to understand how they can act for these people.
Cosycafe York Street Blackpool
CUT RED TAPE AND KICK HIM OUT and his legal team which were paying for, ha ha thats it he has tickets to the olympics and wont get a refund!!! ha ha ha
His legal team need to be on the plane with him they are nothing more than mercenries milking more money out of the british taxpayer. As keith walker says the way things are going he will be here for the olympics and it will be his human right to attend the events.can you hear the laughter from the rest of the world that our muppet show of a goverement hasnt got a backbone???? GET HIM ON A PLANE TONIGHT
how come Qatada has legal teams protecting his right to stay here while lots of Asian girl scan be shipped off to be forcibly married to old pedophiles in Pakistan? Asian Women need some Hman Rights or as they are women do they not have any human rights in UK?