Syv dommere ved Menneskrettsdomstolen i Strasbourg ga denne uken Abu Qatada medhold i at han ikke kan utvises fra Storbritannia til Jordan, hvor han vil bli stilt for retten. Jordanske myndigheter har lovet at han ikke skal utsettes for tortur. Men det kan være at bevis fra andre er skaffet gjennom tortur, mener domstolen.

Derfor vil det være brudd på Den europeiske menneskerettskonvensjonen å utvise Qatada, konkluderte dommerne. Det er samme problemstilling som mullah Krekars nærvær i Norge.

Qatada regnes som al Qaidas åndelige fører i Europa.

Seven judges at the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the preacher whose real name is Omar Othman but who is known as Abu Qatada would not receive a fair trial in Jordan because evidence against him may have been obtained using torture.

«The court today found that if Othman is returned to Jordan, then he himself won’t be at risk of torture because of the assurances that the UK has obtained from the Jordanian government, however it did also find that there is a real risk that the evidence obtained by his co-accused by torture will be used against him at trial,» said Clare Ovey from the European Court of Human Rights.

Abu Qatada has been fighting attempts to deport him for six yearsand a court in Jordan has already found him guilty in his absence of conspiracy to carry out bomb attacks on two hotels in Amman in 1998, and providing finance and advice for a series of bomb attacks in Jordan planned to coincide with the Millennium. The cases were to be retried.

The ruling found that Qatada’s expulsion would be in violation of Article Six of the European Convention of Human Rights which guarantees the right to a fair trial.

Miss Ovey said the ruling sent a clear message from the court that evidence obtained under torture must not be used to convict a person even if they themselves have not been tortured:

“If torture evidence is allowed to be used at trial, it not only encourages and legitimises the use of torture of suspects and of witnesses, it leads to grossly unfair trial, because someone will really say anything if they are being tortured to make it stop, and that evidence is just really not reliable.»

Qatada, who was born in 1960 near Bethlehem, then part of Jordan and now of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is being held in Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire.

Never formally charged with an offence, he has been in and out of custody and been held under a form of house arrest since he was first detained under anti-terrorism laws in 2002.

Deporting cleric would encourage torture says the European Court

Clare Ovey from the European Court of Human Rights says the UK cannot deport extremist cleric Abu Qatada to his native Jordan as doing so would ‘legitimise and encourage the use of torture’.