Abu Qatada stays in UK: Theresa May under pressure after another juducial rebuff

Boris Johnson decries 'utter madness that we can't get shot of this man'

Theresa May was under intense pressure last night to sort out the “utter madness” of the Abu Qatada deportation battle as her attempts to have the radical cleric expelled were rebuffed by the courts once again.

Almost a year after the Home Secretary promised that she had enough assurances from Jordan to put the 52-year-old “on a plane and get him out of our country for good”, the Government suffered another embarrassing defeat.

Yesterday, as senior judges dismissed Mrs May’s appeal against a Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) decision that Abu Qatada could not be removed to Jordan as there was a “real risk” evidence obtained under torture would be used against him in a retrial, there were calls for the minister to sort out the situation with the Arab Kingdom.

“This is an extremely serious and disappointing judgment which rips apart Theresa May's strategy for deporting Abu Qatada and contradicts her repeated assurances to Parliament that her approach would get him swiftly on to a plane,” said Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, adding: ”The Home Secretary needs to pursue all legal avenues, demonstrate further work with Jordan, take urgent action to keep the public safe, and get this deportation back on track.“

Last night the Home Office would not elaborate on what action was being taken to gain further assurances to satisfy the courts, but said: ”We continue to work with the Jordanians to address the outstanding legal issues preventing deportation.”

“This is not the end of the road, and the Government remains determined to deport Abu Qatada. We will consider this judgement carefully and plan to seek leave to appeal,” the statement said.

The ruling was met with frustration from all parties. London Mayor Boris Johnson said: ”Abu Qatada's deportation to Jordan is long overdue and it's utter madness that we can't get shot of this man.”

SIAC decided in November that Abu Qatada - whose real name is Omar Othman - could not be removed to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999, without “a real risk” of evidence obtained through torture being used against him at a retrial.

Mrs May's legal team argued at a recent hearing before the Court of Appeal that the Islamic extremist was a “truly dangerous” individual who escaped deportation because SIAC had “erred in law”.

But yesterday Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, and two other judges unanimously rejected the appeal, insisting they were satisfied that SIAC had not committed any legal errors.

Lord Dyson said SIAC was entitled to conclude there was a real risk of a flagrant denial of justice, adding: “Torture is universally abhorred as an evil. A state cannot expel a person to another state where there is a real risk that he will be tried on the basis of evidence which there is a real possibility may have been obtained by torture.

”That principle is accepted by the Secretary of State and is not in doubt. That is the principle which SIAC had to apply in the present case in the light of all the evidence that it heard and read.”

He continued: “The court recognises that Mr Othman is regarded by the UK government as a danger to national security and understands that there is a general feeling that his deportation to Jordan to face trial is long overdue.”

“The fact that Mr Othman is considered to be dangerous is not relevant to the application of these principles any more than it would be relevant if the issue was whether he should be deported to a country where he would be at risk of facing torture himself. 

“This court can only interfere with a decision of SIAC where an error of law had been identified.  SIAC was entitled to reach the conclusion that it did on the facts of this case and the SSHD (Secretary of State for the Home Department) has failed to identify any error of law.”

Abu Qatada was recently taken back into custody after he was arrested for alleged breaches of his bail conditions. Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne said last week that the hate preacher was being investigated over extremist material. A hearing to consider whether he should be granted bail again was postponed last Thursday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence