Sakset/Fra hofta

Det pågår en maktkamp mellom britiske dommere og regjeringen om hvem som skal bestemme politikken overfor terrorister og terrormistenkte. Dommerne ønsker å gi dem maksimal beskyttelse, om det så betyr å løslate kjente Al-Qaida-tilknyttede. Denne uken løslot en dommer mannen som kalles Al-Qaidas åndelige ambassadør i Europa, Abu Qatada. Han flyttet inn i en romslig leilighet til 8 millioner kroner i bydelen Acton i London. Selv innenriksminister Jacqui Smith, som ellers ikke er blant de tøffe, syntes dette var i meste laget.

Kjernen er: Qatada er dømt til lange straffer i hjemlandet Jordan for terroraksjoner begått der. Hvis han sendes tilbake, risikerer han hardhendt behandling. Risikoen for dette gjorde at han vant retten til ikke å bli utvist. Så gikk Qatada et skritt videre: Han sa det var i strid med menneskerettighetene å bli sittende i varetekt på ubestemt tid. En domstol ga ham medhold, og han er nå sluppet ut. Qatada må leve under en slags husarrest, men han kan gå ut to ganger om dagen, en time hver gang. Han får ikke besøke moskeer men kan bruke en fasttelefon, dog ikke mobil.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, yesterday pledged to appeal against a court ruling preventing his deportation to Jordan.

Abu Qatada was released after he won his fight against deportation. He has been convicted in the Middle East in his absence of involvement with terror attacks in 1998. Abu Qatada came to Britain as an asylum-seeker in September 1993 on a forged United Arab Emirates passport.

Ms Smith said: «I am extremely disappointed that the courts have granted Abu Qatada bail, albeit with very strict conditions. I am appealing to the House of Lords to reverse the decision that it is not safe to deport Qatada and the other Jordanian cases. The Government’s priority is to protect public safety and national security and we will take all steps necessary to do so.»

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About a month ago the Jordanian’s family moved into the four-bedroom house, worth £800,000, in Acton. Residents on the tree-lined street thought little of the arrival of the Muslim family in an area that celebrates its ethnic diversity. But yesterday the gossip over privet hedges was that the 47-year-old preacher had moved into their community.

«The fact that he is in my country, let alone around my neighbourhood makes me mad,» said Michael Lamb, 34, who lives nearby. Mr Lamb served in the Royal Navy in the Gulf War and works in public relations. «The timing is incredibly bad. We are losing men in Afghanistan and now this man is allowed to live here,» he said.

Overkjører regjeringen

Regjeringen har inngått avtaler med berørte land i Midtøsten og Nord-Afrika om at utviste ikke skal tortureres. Men domstolene har ikke godtatt disse avtalene.

Abu Qatada, 48, who won his legal fight against deportation to Jordan last month, will be freed from prison under strict bail conditions, amounting to 22-hour house arrest, despite being deemed a threat to national security.

The cleric applied to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) for bail on the ground that it was inhumane to detain him indefinitely if there was no prospect of his being deported.

The order by Mr Justice Mitting to release him is the latest in a series of judicial decisions that undermine the Government’s stance on terrorism. In the past year, the courts have in effect rewritten sections of terrorism legislation and ruled that financial sanctions on terrorist suspects were absurd and unlawful.

Det er vanskelig å forstå hva slags verden dommer Mitting lever i. Han ser sikkerhetsrisikoen, men mener likevel at Qatadas rettssikkerhet går foran britiske borgeres.

Mr Justice Mitting conceded that there was a security threat but said that it would be pushing the boundaries of the law to continue to detain him without trial or conviction.


Osama bin Laden’s ‘right-hand man’ Abu Qatada wins bail fight