May gives green light for Qatada boot
TERROR suspect Abu Qatada will be deported to Jordan as soon as possible, Home Secretary Theresa May announced yesterday.
The Government said it has now received the assurances it needed to ensure his deportation was lawful.
Mrs May said the radical cleric ‘deserves to face justice’ in Jordan, but warned that successive governments have been trying to deport him for ten years and it may still take some time before he can be put on a plane. But Mrs May said: “We now have the material we need to satisfy the courts and continue with deportation.”
The radical cleric smirked as he was arrested at his north west London home yesterday just hours before Mrs May’s emergency statement in the Commons, which signals the end of a long battle for the government.
Last month, it emerged the cost of keeping watch on Qatada on bail comes to about £5million a year – a hundred times more than keeping him in a high security jail.
He has been subject to a surveillance operation costing £100,000 every week, as authorities monitored his every move to ensure he did not escape.
A team of undercover cops arrested Qatada at 12.30pm at his £400,000 house, for which his family were said to be paying £1,900 a month rent, funded through state benefits.
Five smartly dressed officers were in the house for around 15 minutes before emerging with Qatada, who was not handcuffed. Dressed in white trainers and a full length grey tunic, he was taken to a black people carrier by the cops – one of whom seemed to be carrying a bin liner of possessions.
Meanwhile, Mrs May warned any appeal by Qatada could take ‘ many months’, but added it would have to be based on ‘narrow grounds’ and the Government has confidence in its ‘eventual success’.
She said: “We can soon put Qatada on a plane and get him out of our country for good.”
In fact, the earliest he could be deported is April 30, it is understood.
Europe’s human rights judges have ruled that Qatada cannot be shipped to Jordan without assurances that evidence gained through torture will not be used in his terror trial.
But the move to deport him with these assurances is likely to be challenged in court by Qatada’s legal team.
Qatada – once described by a judge as the late terror leader Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe – was released from Long Lartin high-security jail in Evesham, Worcs, in February after applying for bail following the controversial ECHR ruling.
The Strasbourg-based court found that sending Qatada, 51, back without such assurances would be a ‘flagrant denial of justice’.
After appearing at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in central London Qatada was taken off to prison for detention while decisionsare made.
APPEALING: Qatada was
taken to Immigration Commision