News / Europe

British Judges Again Block Cleric Qatada Expulsion

Jordanian preacher Abu Qatada, left, driven from a Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearing in central London, April 17, 2012.
Jordanian preacher Abu Qatada, left, driven from a Special Immigration Appeals Commission hearing in central London, April 17, 2012.
Reuters
— British judges on Tuesday dealt a fresh blow to efforts to expel a radical cleric once described as Osama bin Laden's "right-hand man in Europe," prompting the government to vow to take its case to the country's highest court.
 
Britain says Abu Qatada, whose sermons were found in a Hamburg flat used by some of those who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, is a security risk and should be returned to his native Jordan, where he was convicted on terrorism charges in 1999.
 
But in an increasingly embarrassing saga for Home Secretary Theresa May, judges have repeatedly blocked the move, citing fears that evidence obtained through torture may be used against Qatada in an expected retrial in Jordan.
 
Last month, judges rejected an appeal against a November ruling by Britain's Special Immigration Appeals Commission blocking Qatada's deportation, prompting the government to seek permission to appeal to Britain's highest court.
 
The Court of Appeal, which filters requests to appeal to the Supreme Court, has now rejected the government's request.
 
"We are disappointed with the Court of Appeal's decision but will now request permission to appeal directly from the Supreme Court," the Home Office said in a statement.
 
"The government remains committed to deporting this dangerous man and we continue to work with the Jordanians to address the outstanding legal issues preventing deportation," the statement added.
 
Although the government can request permission to appeal to the Supreme Court directly, success is seen as less likely than if the Court of Appeal had agreed to allow it.
 
The government will have no other legal avenues left if the Supreme Court decides not to hear its case.
 
Qatada, once described by a Spanish judge as "Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe" has been in and out of jail since first being arrested in 2001, and was last month sent back to jail for breaching his bail conditions.
 
His presence in Britain has been an embarrassment for the Conservative-led government, which has pledged to toughen immigration rules and has promised to get rid of him.
 
May's lawyers have described him as a "truly dangerous" individual, a point judges do not dispute. But despite assurances from Jordan, they fear a "flagrant denial of justice" if Qatada were returned there for a retrial.
 
Britain's opposition Labour party said the government had employed a "failed" legal strategy.
 
"A year ago Theresa May promised Abu Qatada would soon be on a plane. Now it is clear her legal strategy has completely failed," Labour interior affairs spokeswoman Yvette Cooper said.
 
"We want to see Abu Qatada deported as a matter of urgency to face fair trial in Jordan," she added. "The Home Secretary and the courts have said he is a very dangerous man."

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid