The evidence against terror suspect Abu Qatada is "extremely thin", a senior immigration judge has said.
Mr Justice Mitting made the comment as he began a "factual review" of whether the 51-year-old radical cleric would get a fair trial if deported to Jordan.
Qatada, described as Osama bin Laden's "right-hand man in Europe" is facing a retrial on terror charges after Home Secretary Theresa May was given assurances by Jordan that no evidence gained through torture would be used against him.
But discussing the case as the hearing began, Mr Justice Mitting, president of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac), said: "The evidence seems extremely thin."
Mr Friedman also insisted Qatada's lawyers' aim was not simply to delay proceedings further by launching yet more appeals.
"That was not necessarily our aim, two more appeals and 10 more years," he said.
At the High Court this summer, Edward Fitzgerald QC, representing Qatada, said the cleric has now been in detention for seven years - "the longest period of administrative detention as far as we know in modern English history".
Even if Qatada loses when the decision is handed down next month, it could still be many months before the government can send him to Jordan as he could eventually appeal again to Europe's human rights judges.
Lord Justice Hughes and Mr Justice Silber said they did not agree with Mr Fitzgerald's "gloomy prognosis that another year or more of litigation is to be expected after the fortnight's hearing in Siac".
Qatada could appeal against the Siac ruling, the judges said, but any appeal "would have to be on points of law" and it was not "an inevitability" that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg would want to hear the case again.
Qatada was convicted in his absence in Jordan of involvement with terror attacks in 1998 and faces a retrial in his home country.
He has used his human rights to make a series of challenges to moves to deport him.
The radical cleric is considered by the UK authorities to pose a significant threat to national security. Since he arrived in 1993, on a forged passport, he has praised the September 11 terror attacks, advocated the killing of Jews, and issued a "fatwa" justifying the killing of converts from Islam and their wives and children in Algeria.
Home Secretary Theresa May has attempted to secure assurances from Jordan that it will "bend over backwards" to ensure Qatada receives a fair trial.
May has pointed to a change in the Jordanian constitution last autumn "that includes a specific ban on the use of torture evidence".
Other assurances include that Jordan's state security court is not a quasi-military court as judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg suggested, but a key part of the Jordanian justice system which hears a wide range of cases, Mrs May said.
Qatada's case "will be heard in public with civilian judges" and "his conviction in absentia will be quashed immediately" upon his return to Jordan, she added.
Mrs May also said Qatada would be held in a "normal civilian detention centre" with access to independent defence lawyers.
His co-accused will still be able to give evidence in his trial, but "what they say in court will have no effect upon the pardons they have been granted", Mrs May said.
"We can therefore have confidence that they would give truthful testimony."
Anthony Laydan, the former British ambassador to Libya who specialises in negotiating diplomatic assurances, will give evidence on Thursday.
He is expected to be followed by a Jordanian lawyer who advises the British Embassy in Amman.
The case continues.