Abu Qatada appeal 'just in time' says Council of Europe

 

Abu Qatada's appeal to European human rights judges against deportation to Jordan may have been lodged “just in time”, according to advice from the Council of Europe.

Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs that the application by Qatada's lawyers should be thrown out by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as the three-month deadline had passed when it was submitted on Tuesday night.

However, Labour released advice from the research department of the Council of Europe - which is responsible for the court - suggesting it may have just beaten the deadline.

The note, sent to the House of Commons Library, stresses that the final decision on whether the appeal is admissible now rests with a panel of five judges from the court's Grand Chamber.

"The Othman (Qatada) case was supposed to become final on 17/04/2012 and, according to the information provided by the European Court, the applicant requested a referral to the Grand Chamber on the 17/04," the note said.

"So I would say that it just in time but of course the Court (panel) may decide otherwise."

The note was signed by Nathalie Chene of Secretariat of the Committee of Ministers Council of Europe.

Earlier, in the Commons, Mrs May was adamant that the appeal deadline had passed 24 hours earlier at midnight on Monday - April 16.

"The Government is clear that Abu 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," she said.

"The Government has written to the European Court to make clear our case that the application should be rejected because it is out of time."

On Tuesday, Mrs May announced Qatada had been rearrested and deportation proceedings resumed in the absence of any appeal against the court's ruling - issued on January 17 - that he would not face torture if he was deported to stand trial on terrorism charges in his native Jordan.

However that night at 11pm local time Qatada's lawyers lodged their appeal with the ECHR.

Today, amid noisy scenes in the Commons chamber, Mrs May accused the lawyers of using "delaying tactics" to hold up the deportation process.

She acknowledged, however, that proceedings would have to be put on hold while the Grand Chamber panel came to a decision on the admissibility of the appeal.

"They are the only final arbiters of what the deadline was," she said.

Pressed by Labour former home secretary Alan Johnson, she said that she took full responsibility for any error by the Government.

"I, of course, take responsibility for decisions that I have taken. This is not a question of what officials have done. I take full responsibility," she said.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the "confusion" in the Home Office over the deadline date had played into the hand's of Qatada's lawyers, increasing the potential for delays and for Qatada to obtain bail.

She said that officials should have realised there could be a problem when journalists began querying the deadline date with them on Monday.

"When the Home Secretary is accused of not knowing what day of the week it is, chaos and confusion have turned into farce. But this farce has serious consequences," she said.

Among Tory MPs there was broad support for Mrs May coupled with frustration and anger at the prospect of further hold-ups at the hands of the ECHR.

Backbencher Charles Walker urged her to put the "scumbag and his murderous mates" on a plane out of the country and send "a metaphorical two fingers to the ECHR".

Outside the chamber, however, another Tory MP, Douglas Carswell, was scathing about the Government's handling of the case, saying it was "Carry on Sir Humphrey in the Home Office".

Campaigning in Scotland, David Cameron could not hide his exasperation at the latest setback.

"I sometimes wish I could put him plane and take him to Jordan myself. But Government has to act within the law. That is what we'll do. We will get this done," he said.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?