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UK Politics

Britain pays out millions to criminals after losing 202 human rights cases since 1998

European Court of Human Rights attacked by MP as an 'absolute racket'

Britain has had to pay out £4.4 million in taxpayers' money as a result of losing 202 cases at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg since 1998, figures from the House of Commons reveal.

Those who have won cases against Britain include terrorists, sex offenders and murderers, the Daily Mail reports.

Recent high profile cases include that of Abu Qatada, the radical islamic cleric, who received £2,000 in damages after the ECHR ruled he had been detained unlawfully. He was eventually deported from Britain to Jordan this year.

The figures were obtained by Conservative MP Philip Davies and placed in the House of Commons Library.

Speaking to the newspaper, Mr Davies said, “To me, it’s just an absolutely scandalous waste of money. I’m not aware of my decent law-abiding constituents running off to the European Court of Human Rights.

“It is a charter for illegal immigrants and criminals.”

Other individuals who have been paid damages by the ECHR include George Blake, a Soviet double agent jailed for 42 years who appealed to the court and was awarded £4,700 in 2006.

The ECHR ruled that Britain's attempts to prevent him profiting from the memoirs he wrote after fleeing to Russia breached the enemy spy's right to free expression.

Liam Averill, a convicted IRA killer who escaped from Northern Ireland's Maze prison in 1997 disguised as a woman was awarded £5,000 by the court, which ruled that it was wrong he had no lawyer for 24 hours following his arrest.

Kirk Dickson, who was convicted of murder after kicking a man to death for refusing to give him cigarettes, won £18,000 from the ECHR after it ruled that he had been denied the right to father a child by artificial insemination.

As a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, Britain played a key role in the creation of the court in 1959.

The court allows individuals with a grievance against a member state to challenge their treatment at an international level.

ECHR judges are elected, not appointed, by the Council of Europe - a human rights organisation. The judges are chosen among those nominated by governments signed up to the European Convention.

The ECHR has been the subject of much controversy in recent years, with government ministers condeming a number of its rulings which have prevented criminals being deported from Britain and attacked whole-life prison sentences.

MPs have attacked the Strasbourg court for what they see as it readiness to allow criminals to abuse international human rights laws for their own gain.

“We’re in a situation where we’ve got pseudo judges who are making decisions about this country. These cases highlight what an absolute racket it has become. The sooner we scrap the Human Rights Act and leave the European Convention on Human Rights the better,” said Mr Davies.

The Conservative Party has indicated that it is prepared to withdraw from the human rights convention after the next election and repeal the Human Rights Act, which enshrines the conventions provisions into UK law, to replace it with a British 'Bill of Rights'.

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