Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting BWNNEWS to 80360 or email us »
Abu Qatada wins deportation battle
Terror suspect Abu Qatada has won his battle against deportation to Jordan to face trial.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) upheld his appeal after his lawyers claimed he would not get a fair trial. The radical cleric, once described as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, was convicted of terror charges in Jordan in his absence in 1999.
Home Secretary Theresa May had been given assurances by Jordan that no evidence gained through torture would be used against him. A Home Office spokesman said the Government will apply to appeal against the decision.
He said: "The Government strongly disagrees with this ruling. We have obtained assurances not just in relation to the treatment of Qatada himself, but about the quality of the legal processes that would be followed throughout his trial. Indeed, today's ruling found that 'the Jordanian judiciary, like their executive counterparts, are determined to ensure that the appellant will receive, and be seen to receive, a fair retrial'."
Mrs May will make a statement to the Commons on the ruling later, the Speaker's Office said.
Siac found that Qatada's right to a fair trial would be breached because evidence obtained via torture could be used during his retrial in Jordan.
Qatada had claimed that there was a risk that he himself would be tortured or badly treated in Jordan, however this was rejected.
His legal team also maintained that even if he was acquitted at retrial, he could be kept in prison under Jordanian law if the authorities decided he was "a danger to the people", therefore breaching his right to liberty. This was also rejected.
During a seven-day hearing last month, the commission heard evidence from Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards, who has studied Jordan's political situation for 25 years. She said Qatada remained a "controversial" figure in Jordan and a fair trial was unlikely.
Qatada, who is said to have wide and high-level support among extremists, featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the September 11 bombers. He has challenged and ultimately thwarted every attempt by the Government over the last decade to put him on a plane.