Abu Qatada deportation decision due

Abu Qatada Abu Qatada was returned to prison following an alleged bail breach on 9 March

Related Stories

Home Secretary Theresa May is due to learn whether she has won an appeal to overturn a decision to allow radical cleric Abu Qatada to stay in the UK.

Mrs May took the case to the Court of Appeal after judges ruled last November Abu Qatada could not be deported to Jordan for a retrial over alleged involvement in terrorism plots.

Her lawyers argued they took the wrong approach in reaching the decision.

His re-arrest this month followed an alleged breach of bail conditions.

The alleged breach involved condition 10 of his bail agreement, which concerned the use of communications equipment at his home.

Judges at an urgent Special Immigration Appeals Commission on 9 March ruled he must return to Belmarsh prison.

The Metropolitan Police said his re-arrest was linked to an investigation into extremist internet material.

The special immigration appeals commission (Siac) ruled in November there was a "real risk" evidence gained by torture could be used against Abu Qatada at a retrial in Jordan, meaning that he would not get a fair hearing.

In April 1999, he was convicted in his absence on terror charges in Jordan and sentenced to life imprisonment, and it is on these charges that he faces a retrial.

'Compelling evidence'

At a Court of Appeal hearing earlier this month, lawyers for the UK government argued a block on his deportation should be lifted, saying a "fair" trial in Jordan was possible.

James Eadie QC, appearing for Mrs May, said Siac had taken an "erroneous" view of the situation in Jordan and the legal tests that had to be applied when it came to assessing the conditions Abu Qatada could face there.

He said Jordanian law bans the use of torture and reliance on statements extracted under duress.

Jordanians will do everything in their power to make sure Abu Qatada receives a trial that was "fair and seen to be so", he added.

But lawyers for Abu Qatada told the court that the UK should not send someone back to a country with a "dubious human rights record".

Edward Fitzgerald QC, appearing for the cleric, argued the Siac ruling was right and there was "concrete and compelling evidence" that his co-defendants were tortured into providing evidence.

He said government lawyers had "identified no error of law" and were "quarrelling with findings of fact".

Restart deportation

If Mrs May wins the appeal, it would allow her to restart the deportation. But it is highly likely there will be more appeals to the Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights.

Abu Qatada was first arrested in October 2002 in south London and detained in Belmarsh high-security prison. He was re-arrested and released on bail number of times over the years that followed.

In November 2012, he was released on bail from prison in when the courts blocked the home secretary's latest attempt to deport him to Jordan.

He was subject to strict bail conditions, including only being allowed out of his house between 08:00 and 16:00, having to wear an electronic tag, and being restricted in who he meets. He is also banned from using mobile phones and computers.

The Metropolitan Police said his re-arrest earlier this month was linked to an investigation into extremist internet material.

The police force is investigating whether he was involved in the material's publication.

Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, sitting with Lord Justice Richards and Lord Justice Elias at the Court of Appeal in London, are due to announce their decision on whether Abu Qatada can remain in the UK on Wednesday morning.

Who is Abu Qatada? Abu Qatada was born in Bethlehem in 1960 and spent his early life in Jordan. He fled to Pakistan in 1989 claiming political persecution and eventually arrived in the UK in 1993. Abu Qatada was part of a wave of Islamists who sought refuge in the UK during the 1980s and 90s, often exiled from the Arab regimes they were trying to overthrow.
Algerian Islamists pray, 1992 Abu Qatada emerged as a key voice in the Islamist movement in London, which advocated strict Islamic government in Muslim countries and armed struggle against despots and foreign invaders. His preachings and ideas won him influence among Islamist groups in Algeria and Egypt during the 1990s. He was tried and found guilty in his absence of terrorism offences in Jordan in 1999.
Ruins of the World Trade Center By 2001 fears were growing about Abu Qatada's hard-line views. He endorsed suicide attacks in a BBC interview and was questioned in connection with a German terror cell. Copies of his sermons were found in the Hamburg flat used by some of the 9/11 attackers and Spanish judge Balthazar Garzon described him as the "spiritual head of the mujahideen in Britain". In December 2001, Abu Qatada disappeared and became one of the UK's most wanted men.
Abu Qatada in 2005 In October 2002 Abu Qatada was arrested and detained without charge. He was released in 2005 and put under strict house arrest, but months later was arrested under immigration rules and moves began to deport him to Jordan to face retrial on the charges he had been convicted of six years earlier. In 2007 he lost his immigration case, but the Court of Appeal later ruled that deportation to a regime which uses torture - ie Jordan - would breach his human rights.
BBC The Court of Appeal ruling was overturned by the Law Lords in early 2009, and the then Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith (L), signed a deportation order. Abu Qatada then appealed to the European Court, which eventually ruled that he could not be deported while the risk of torture remained. In 2012 Home Secretary Theresa May (R) pressed ahead with deportation, but this was blocked amid a row over the appeal deadline.
Abu Qatada In November 2012 Abu Qatada was released from prison once more after a UK court backed his appeal on the grounds that witness evidence obtained by torture could be used against him at trial in Jordan. That was a disastrous blow to the Home Office because it meant the only way the deportation could happen would be if Jordan changed its system to ensure torture-tainted evidence could not be used.
Abu Qatada Abu Qatada was then returned to prison on 9 March 2013 after an alleged breach of his bail conditions - but this deportation was still blocked. Weeks later, Home Secretary Theresa May announced a new UK-Jordan treaty to improve co-operation in criminal investigations. That treaty included a guarantee of a fair trial free of torture-tainted evidence for anyone sent back to Jordan. Abu Qatada's lawyers announced he would now return to Jordan.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.