Den britiske innenriksministeren Theresa May bekrefter at regjeringen har sikret en avtale med Jordan om retur av den radikale imamen Abu Qatada. May sier imidlertid at det kan ta opptil et år før Qatada blir sent ut.
I Jordan vil Qatada bli stilt for retten, anklaget for terrorisme. Qatadas advokater uttalte i går at de vil benytte alle appellmuligheter for å forhindre deportasjonen av deres klient. Qatada ble fengslet i går, men fengslingsforhandlingen ble utsatt da han forlangte en tolk til tross for at han har vært i Storbritannia siden 1993, da han ankom på forfalsket pass og søkte om – og ble innvilget – asyl. Britiske myndigheters mislykkede forsøk på å sende ut en mann som er ansett som en sikkerhetstrussel mot landet har for øvrig likhetstrekk med norske myndigheters maktesløshet i forhold til mullah Krekar.
Mrs May was forced to seek the deal with Jordan following January’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that he would not face a fair trial if sent home. The ruling also led to Qatada’s release on bail in February.
Since then he has been at his family home in Wembley, north-west London, under strict bail conditions. The £1,900-a-month rent on the house is paid through benefits, and a surveillance operation to monitor his every move cost British taxpayers £100,000 a week.Just after midday yesterday, smirking Qatada was led from his home by immigration officers and taken to a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, in Central London, which rules on terror immigration cases.
The hearing was delayed when Qatada demanded a translator, although he has lived here since 1993.
The judge, Mr Justice Mitting, said he still posed a risk of absconding and denied bail. He indicated a full hearing could be delayed until October. It is likely a further application for bail will take place within days, but last night Qatada, whose real name is Omar Othman, was in Belmarsh high security prison.
Forskjellige britiske regjeringer har i syv år forsøkt å sende Qatada ut av landet, men alle planer om utsendelse har blitt stanset ved hjelp av Den europeiske menneskerettighetserklæringen (EMK). I januar ga syv dommere ved Den europeiske menneskerettsdomstolen (EMD) Abu Qatada medhold i at han ikke kunne utvises fra Storbritannia til Jordan, til tross for at Jordan har avgitt løfte om at han ikke skal utsettes for tortur, men EMD uttrykte frykt for at det kunne bli brukt bevis mot ham skaffet gjennom tortur av andre. Dommerne konkluderte dermed med at en utvisning ville være et brudd på EMK. Den nye avtalen skal inneholde betingelser beregnet på å tilfredsstille EMD.
At den ekstremistiske imamen kort etter EMDs avgjørelse ble satt fri til å gjenoppta sitt liv på fellesskapets bekostning har vakt alminnelig raseri. I tillegg til å ha vært involvert i mer alvorlige saker har han i årevis, i likhet med mullah krekar, gjort seg svært negativt bemerket i offentligheten:
September 16 1993 – The Jordanian father of five claims asylum when he arrives in Britain on a forged passport.
June 1994 – He is allowed to stay in Britain.
March 1995 – Qatada issues a ‘fatwa’ justifying the killing of converts from Islam, their wives and children in Algeria.
May 1998 – He applies for indefinite leave to remain in Britain.
April 1999 – He is convicted in his absence on terror charges in Jordan and sentenced to life imprisonment.
October 1999 – The radical cleric speaks in London advocating the killing of Jews and praising attacks on Americans.
February 2001 – He is arrested by anti-terror police over involvement in a plot to bomb Strasbourg Christmas market. Officers find him in possession of £170,000 in cash, including £805 in an envelope marked ‘For the mujahedin in Chechnya’.
December 2001 – Qatada becomes one of Britain’s most wanted men after going on the run from his home in Acton, West London.
October 2002 – He is arrested by police in a council house in south London and detained in Belmarsh high-security jail.
March 2005 – He is freed on conditional bail and placed on a control order.
August 2005 – The preacher is arrested under immigration rules as the Government seeks to deport him to Jordan.
April 2008 – The Court of Appeal rules that deporting him would breach his human rights because evidence used against him in Jordan may have been obtained through torture.
May 2008 – Qatada is granted bail by the immigration tribunal but told he must stay inside for 22 hours a day.
June 2008 – He is released from Long Lartin jail in Worcestershire and moves in to a four bedroomed £800,000 home in West London.
November 2008 – He is rearrested after the Home Office tells an immigration hearing of fears he plans to abscond.
December 2008 – Qatada’s bail is revoked by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) after hearing secret evidence that the risk of him absconding has increased.
February 18 2009 – In a landmark judgment, five Law Lords unanimously back the Government’s policy of removing terror suspects from Britain on the basis of assurances from foreign governments. It is ruled he can be deported to Jordan to face terror charges.
February 19 2009 – Qatada is awarded £2,500 compensation by the European Court of Human Rights after the judges rule that his detention without trial in the UK under anti-terrorism powers breached his human rights.
January 2012 – European judges rule the firebrand cleric can be sent back to Jordan with diplomatic assurances but he cannot be deported while ‘there remains a real risk that evidence obtained by torture will be used against him’.
February 6 2012 – SIAC rules he can be released on bail, despite posing a risk to national security.
February 9 2012 – David Cameron and King Abdullah of Jordan agree on the ‘importance of finding an effective resolution’ to his case, Downing Street says.
February 13 2012 – It emerges Qatada has been released on bail from Long Lartin prison.
April 17 2012 – The cleric is arrested as the Government prepares to deport him to Jordan.