Abu Qatada Released From Prison!
After seven years of detention in the UK, Abu Qatada is finally set to be released from prison. UK authorities have been trying to have him deported to Jordan where he would face imminent terrorism charges. Qatada has been held in Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire however he is set to be released this morning.
In his defence, Qatada’s lawyers argued that he would not get a fair trial in Jordan, a country in which he is accused of various bomb plots. The unbelievable decision to release Qatada has been slammed by the Home Office and the general public. Home affairs committee chairman, Keith Vaz has publicly urged the UK to “persuade Jordan to strengthen its criminal code”, also stating that UK ministers must now work with Jordan to overturn the decision. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, has called the decision “deeply unsatisfactory” and has promised the government will appeal the decision.
The incarceration and trial of Abu Qatada has cost the taxpayer well over £1m and his subsequent continuation of attention in the UK is bound to push this figure higher. He will be subject to stringent bail condition which will include an 08:00 until 16:00 curfew, an electronic tag and restrictions on his social interactions.
Although Qatada was detained without charge for three years without charge in 2002, his release was ordered in March of 2005 after a law was introduced banning the concept of detention without charge. He was then re-arrested in August of the same year pending a deportation order. Qatada lost this appeal and has since spent the last seven years appealing the decision, finally claiming victory this morning.
It appears the decision to give Qatada his freedom back has been made because some evidence against him was collected in Jordan via means of torture of others, thereby making it inadmissible in court. The King of Jordan is set to visit the UK later this month, an opportunity which the authorities will undoubtedly take to try to alter the decision. The services of translation companies have been used heavily in this case as authorities from both camps try to ascertain as much information as possible. The native language of Jordan is Jordanian Arabic however Qatada who was born in Palestine also has a good grasp of the English language.
It remains to be seen how long Qatada will retain his freedom for and whether an imminent return to prison will be on the cards. However for this morning at least the score settles at Terrorism – 1, Justice – 0.
Source: BBC News