Abu Qatada Landlord Didn't Realise Radical Muslim Was His Tenant

Qatada

PA/Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 23/02/2012 15:30 Updated: 23/02/2012 15:32

A landlord who did not realise that he had rented a house to Abu Qatada's family said he experienced "the worst day" after journalists discovered that the Muslim radical cleric was staying at the address.

A High Court judge heard that the landlord, who cannot be named for legal reasons, "became panicked" after journalists showed him pictures of Abu Qatada outside the house.

The landlord explained to Mr Justice Tugendhat: "I can't live like this with people chasing after me and phoning and knocking at my door. I don't want my family dragged into this."

His statement added: "I can't deal with this. This is the worst day ... I don't know if it will get worse again but this can't go on. I can't allow them (the mother and children) to stay in the house if things are like this. I will have to serve notice."

He said he had let the house to a "mother with four children" and "did not know that the family were related to Abu Qatada."

"I do not have the name on the contract. I have the name of a mother with four children" his statement explained.

The details emerged after Mr Justice Tugendhat made an order limiting what could be reported about the landlord.

A written judgment, which gave details of the order and included sections from a statement made by the landlord, was today handed down by the judge at a hearing in London.

Qatada won an appeal against deportation from the UK to Jordan in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in January.
He was freed on bail on 13 February after being held for six-and-a-half years while fighting deportation.

The landlord told Mr Justice Tugendhat journalists contacted him on 15 February and showed him pictures of Qatada at the door of the house.

Justice Tugendhat said he was imposing reporting restrictions to protect the landlord's right to "respect for his home and family life" - which is enshrined in human rights legislation.

The judge said restrictions included a ban on publication of the landlord's name and address.

Another judge imposed an injunction restricting reporting late on 15 February.

Justice Tugendhat said he had made a new order following a High Court hearing in London on 20 February and that media organisations had been notified.

Leonie Hirst, for the landlord, told Mr Justice Tugendhat at the hearing earlier this week that her client became "through no fault ... the subject of intense and very intrusive media scrutiny".

"My client's concern is primarily to be left alone," Ms Hirst told the judge. "He wants journalists to stop pursuing him and his family at his home."

Abu Qatada was released from prison on conditional bail after judges in Strasbourg ruled he could not be deported without assurances from Jordan that evidence gained through torture would not be used against him.

Abu Qatada claimed asylum after arriving in Britain in 1993 and was convicted in his absence in Jordan of being involved in two terrorist conspiracies in 1999.

He was detained in 2002, when an immigration court described him as a "truly dangerous individual", and has issued a series of fatwas, or religious rulings, in support of the killing of non-believers.

A number of his videos were also found in the Hamburg flat of Mohammed Atta, one of the ringleaders of the 9/11 hijackers.

FOLLOW HUFFPOST UK