UK

Abu Qatada To Stay In UK As Theresa May's Deportation Appeal Blocked

27/03/2013 11:38 GMT | Updated 27/03/2013 14:12 GMT

Abu Qatada has been allowed to stay in the UK, the Court of Appeal has ruled, in a fresh blow to Theresa May, who had appealed to overturn a decision allowing him to reside in Britain.

Mrs May's legal team submitted at a recent one-day hearing in London that he was a "truly dangerous" individual who escaped deportation through "errors of law".

qatada

Cleric vs Conservative: It's become personal for the Home Secretary

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) decided in November that Qatada could not be removed to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999.

The Home Office sent this angry tweet after the ruling

Siac judges said there was a "real risk" that evidence from Qatada's former co-defendants Abu Hawsher and Al-Hamasher, who were allegedly tortured, could be used against him at a retrial, breaching his human rights.

The Home Office said it plans to appeal the decision made unanimously by the judges and will continue to seek assurances from Jordan to ensure Abu Qatada receives a fair trial.

theresa may

Theresa May has failed to give Qatada the boot

Theresa May has repeatedly claimed Jordan will "bend over backwards" to ensure Qatada receives a fair trial. Lawyer Roger Smith, Director of JUSTICE, thinks it is highly improbable he would do.

"Every agency that has looked at Jordan's human rights record has had severe reservations" he told the Huffington Post UK

"Any prosecution has to be based on evidence from around 1990s so I think it's very difficult to see how they could now get new and untainted evidence."

Although former co-defendants - Al-Hamasher and Abu Hawsher in the Abu Qatada case have now been pardoned, they continue to have the threat of imprisonment hang over them and have been re-arrested several times.

Qatada, who was living on bail at a London address, is back in custody after he was arrested for alleged breaches earlier in March.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne, of the Metropolitan Police, revealed last week the hate preacher is being investigated over extremist material published on the internet.

A hearing over whether he should be granted bail was due to be held last Thursday but was delayed.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, appearing for Qatada on Wednesday, now in his early 50s, defended the ruling , saying there was "concrete and compelling evidence" that Qatada's co-defendants were tortured.

Mr Fitzgerald argued there was "a real risk of a flagrant denial of justice" if Qatada was sent back to Jordan.

The legal aid bill for radical cleric Abu Qatada stood at £515,778 in December and has continued to rise.

Abu Qatada reaction