Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada to be deported to Jordan on terror charges
The radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada can be deported to Jordan where he faces terror charges, the Law Lords have ruled.
They said Qatada, once described by a judge as “Osama Bin Laden‘s right hand man in Europe”, could be sent back to Jordan despite fears he may be tortured.
The judgment is a victory for the Home Office in its long-running campaign to remove Qatada from Britain, but was criticised by human rights groups.
The ruling overturns the decision by the Court of Appeal that he should not be sent to Jordan.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she was “delighted” with the ruling which she said vindicated the Government’s efforts to remove Qatada.
The Law Lords also ruled in favour of the Government over its attempts to deport two other men to Algeria.
All three men could now take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Ms Smith said: “I’m delighted with the Lords’ decision today in the cases of Abu Qatada and the two Algerians ‘RB’ and ‘U’.
“It highlights the threat these individuals pose to our nation’s security and vindicates our efforts to remove them.
“My top priority is to protect public safety and ensure national security and I have signed Abu Qatada’s deportation order which will be served on him today.
“I am keen to deport this dangerous individual as soon as I can.”
Since 2001, when fears of the domestic terror threat rose in the aftermath of the World Trade Centre attacks, Qatada has challenged, and ultimately thwarted, every attempt by the Government to detain and deport him.
The Jordanian father of five, real name Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, claimed asylum when he arrived in Britain in September 1993 on a forged passport.
He was allowed to stay and preach his extremism, calling on British Muslims to martyr themselves in a holy war on “oppression”.
A 1995 “fatwa” he issued justified the killing of converts from Islam, their wives and children in Algeria.
In October 1999 a sermon in London called for the killing of Jews and praised attacks on Americans.
The same year he was convicted in his absence of planning terror attacks in Jordan.
Videos of his sermons were found in the Hamburg flat used by some of the September 11 hijackers.
He was arrested by anti-terror police in February 2001 and found in possession of £170,000 in cash, including £805 in an envelope marked “For the mujahedin in Chechnya”.
In the aftermath of the New York attacks he went on the run to avoid being detained without trial or charged under new anti-terror laws.