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

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

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

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week