Duncan Lewis


Asylum, Detention/ Fast Track

Managed Migration, Public Law

Abu Qatada’s appeal against deportation rejected by ECHR even though it accepted that his appeal was within the stipulated time frame

Date: (10 May 2012)    |    

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Though the timing of Abu Qatada’s arrest had gone wrong the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that his deportation can be processed.
The court lifted the legal blocks on home secretary’s attempts to deport the cleric to Jordan.
With the appeal of Abu Qatada rejected the Home Secretary Theresa May would be making renewed attempt to deport the cleric.
May said that she was pleased by the European court's decision. The Qatada case would now go through the British courts. She said that she was confident that the assurances her office had from Jordan would facilitate Qatada’s flight to take him out Britain.
A panel of five human rights judges ruled that the radical Islamist cleric's lawyers, and not May, were right to claim that his appeal against deportation, lodged at 11.13pm on Tuesday 17 April, had been made within the three-month time limit.
But his appeal to the grand chamber that there was a risk he would be tortured if he was sent back to Jordan was rejected without any reasons being specified. Appeals are normally rejected if they do not raise a sufficiently serious new issue or legal question.
The decision on his appeal lifts the legal block on the home secretary's attempts to deport Qatada to Jordan to face trial on terrorist conspiracy charges.
May, would be considering single option for "short-circuiting" lengthy appeals in the British courts against his deportation.
Mr Justice Mitting, who last month revoked Qatada's bail pending the outcome of the Strasbourg hearing, said this could bring the matter to a rapid end "within a matter of weeks". The high court hearing will test the legality of undertakings given by the Jordanian government that Qatada will not face a trial on his return based on evidence obtained by torture.
Tory MP Dominic Raab said that the ruling had put Qatada's deportation back under UK control.
Once the British courts approve the revived deportation application, which ought to happen in the next few weeks, Qatada will presumably try a third appeal to Strasbourg.
At that point, the government cannot legally be prevented from deporting him, so he should be put straight on a plane to Jordan.
It would pervert the rule of law to allow him to sit out a third Strasbourg appeal, which could take months, on British soil and at taxpayers' expense."