View Full Version : European court: Cleric can't be deported from UK

18 Jan 12,, 02:28
Gotta keep the welfare rolls full :whome:

European court: Cleric can't be deported from UK
Associated PressBy DAVID STRINGER | Associated Press – 3 hrs ago
European court: Cleric can't be deported from UK - Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/european-court-cleric-cant-deported-uk-112038592.html)

LONDON (AP) — An extremist cleric described as one of Europe's leading al-Qaida operatives should not be deported to face terrorism charges in Jordan because of the risk evidence obtained through torture would be used against him, Europe's highest court ruled Tuesday.

After a six-year legal battle, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that deporting Abu Qatada from Britain — where he is in prison — would "give rise to a flagrant denial of justice."

Abu Qatada — whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman — is an extremist Muslim preacher from Jordan who has been described in both Spanish and British courts as a leading al-Qaida figure in Europe.

A Palestinian-Jordanian citizen, Abu Qatada arrived in Britain in 1993 and was detained in 2002 under anti-terrorism laws which at the time allowed suspected terrorists to be held in jail without charge.

Though Abu Qatada was released in 2005, when the unpopular law was overturned, he was kept under surveillance and arrested again within months, to be held pending his deportation to face terrorism charges in Jordan.

He was convicted in his absence in Jordan of terrorist offenses related to two alleged bomb plots in 1999 and 2000, and would face a retrial if deported there from Britain.

Although Abu Qatada has never faced criminal charges in Britain, authorities in the U.K. have accused him of advising militants and raising money for terrorist attacks. He "is a leading spiritual adviser with extensive links to, and influence over, extreme Islamists in the U.K. and overseas," prosecutors told a British court in 2007.

Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May said she was disappointed by the ruling and the government would consider appealing the European court's decision. It has a three-month window in which to make any appeal, the court said.

"This is not the end of the road," May said. She confirmed Abu Qatada would remain held in British prison custody while a decision is made.

May has not specified what Britain would do if it loses any appeal, though it is likely Abu Qatada would be freed from prison and monitored under a surveillance program which requires those suspected of involvement in terrorism, but not charged with any crime, to abide by a curfew and wear an electronic anklet.

Abu Qatada's lawyer, Gareth Peirce, said the European court had sent a clear message that it would be wrong to prosecute a suspect on "evidence emanating from torture."

Peirce said she hoped Britain would not appeal and that the U.K. had been wrong to press to have her client deported since 2005.

"The court's judgment of today is long, thoughtful and complex, and sets out important guidelines for Europe's member states on a number of difficult issues," she said. "It would indeed be disappointing if the implications of this judgment were not carefully and adequately digested and the United Kingdom were to continue a challenge which flies so directly in the face of internationally accepted standards."

Britain's Special Immigration Appeals Commission has previously been told Abu Qatada also was suspected of links to a bomb plot in Strasbourg, France, and to the raising of funds for terrorism in Chechnya.

In their ruling, the European judges based in Strasbourg said they did not accept Abu Qatada's claims that he would face ill treatment or torture at the hands of Jordanian authorities if sent there for trial, citing recent agreements between Jordan and the U.K.

But the judges warned that evidence in his case had been obtained by torturing his co-accused.

"The court found that torture was widespread in Jordan, as was the use of torture evidence by the Jordanian courts," the ruling said. "In relation to each of the two terrorist conspiracies ... the evidence of his involvement had been obtained by torturing one of his co-defendants."

Judges said evidence obtained through torture is illegal under international law and is also unreliable. The ruling said "there was a high probability that the incriminating evidence would be admitted ... and that it would be of considerable, perhaps decisive, importance."

Britain's highest court had ruled in 2009 that Abu Qatada should be deported to Jordan, despite fears over his potential mistreatment.

Human rights group Liberty urged the British government to make efforts to have Abu Qatada prosecuted in Britain.

"The court found that torture and evidence obtained that way is widespread" in Jordan, Shami Chakrabarti, the group's director, said in a statement. "So it is clear that, if Abu Qatada is to be tried for terrorism, this should happen in a British court without further delay."

British Prime Minister David Cameron will call for reform of the European court in a long-planned speech next week at the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe. He has frequently complained over the human rights court's rulings and said it had made him "physically ill" when Britain was ordered in 2010 to overturn a centuries-old law and allow prisoners to vote in national elections.

"We have been talking for some time about reform for the European Court of Human Rights," Cameron's spokesman Steve Field said following the Abu Qatada ruling. Field said the court's backlog of about 160,000 cases proved "something isn't working quite as it should be."

Cameron believes the court must focus on the most important cases "rather than essentially being a court of appeal for national judgments," the spokesman said.

What 'right' does Abu Qatada have to stay in Britain?
By Ed West Politics Last updated: January 17th, 2012

Comment on this
Abu Qatada, once described as “Osama bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe”

Abu Qatada, once described as “Osama bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe”

I wonder if a single person outside of the legal profession agrees that this is fair:

In a landmark judgment, the court said that Qatada would not receive a fair trial if he was returned to his native Jordan where he faces charges that he plotted bomb attacks on two hotels and providing finance and advice for another series of bomb attacks to coincide with the Millennium.

The court said there would be a violation of his right to a fair trial under Article Six of the European Convention of Human Rights, “given the real risk of the admission of evidence obtained by torture at his retrial.”

It is the first time that the Court has found that an expulsion would be in violation of Article 6, which reflects the international consensus that the use of evidence obtained through torture makes a fair trial impossible.

Qatada was born in Bethlehem in 1960 in what was then Jordan. A religious radical, he was in Kuwait when Saddam Hussein invaded in 1990 and (like many Palestinians there) supported the Iraqis. After being kicked, out he claimed asylum in Britain on the grounds of religious persecution, and was granted it – despite the fact that the reason he was being persecuted was his religious extremism.

And he’s not exactly been an exemplary figure since arriving here: as well as being an associate of shoe bomber Richard Reid and Zacharias Moussaoui, the 9/11 plotter, he was once caught by police with £170,000 in cash, including £805 in an envelope with the not-exactly-cryptic legend “For the Mujahedin in Chechnya” on the front.

Meanwhile, and here’s the pièce de resistance, he’s also – like all Islamist radicals – a huge receipient of welfare, for much of the time receiving £400 a week in state benefits, including £322 for housing and £70 for disability.

Ah, but I’m sure some lawyers will argue, we still have the responsibility to ensure he does not get tortured in Jordan; it is his human right.

But that’s exactly the point – he has no such rights. As an asylum seeker he is a guest in this country, and nowhere in human history, until the creation in the last few years of human rights legislation, has it ever been accepted that guests have any other rights other than the right to protection within a territory. In no human society does the guest have the right to indefinite leave, let alone such ideas as a right to a family life, whatever fate awaits him elsewhere – and this goes especially for guests who have violated a society’s code and laws.

I imagine most Britons are not against the idea of giving refuge, but asylum is a gift granted upon someone with no “rights” here: it is not in itself a right, because rights can only be bestowed by a sovereign state – they do not come naturally care of some quasi-religious world authority, nor is man naturally born with them. In fact in many parts of the world human rights as we understand them are still alien or tenuous, and I would include in that category Moldova and Albania, from where two of the ECHR judges hail from.

Qatada has no rights upon Britain anymore than I have rights upon Jordan, and by granting him such the judges are not just undermining justice but the very sovereignty on which justice and human rights are built.