Abu Qatada, the Palestinian-Jordanian who has been fighting deportation from Britain to Jordan for nearly a decade, may be released from prison and bailed once again. He was tried and sentenced in absentia by Jordanian courts to life imprisonment in 1999, for offences including planned attacks on Israeli and US tourists. But he has fought deportation from Britain, where he was granted asylum in 1994, claiming that his life would be at risk if he returned to Jordan. In January 2012, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that if he were returned to Jordan, he would face a further trial which might be based on evidence obtained by torture. Following negotiations between London and Amman, the British government has received assurances that he would receive a fair trial. However, a last minute appear to the European Court of Human Rights by Abu Qatada has delayed the process once again. It is as yet unclear if the appeal is valid, due to confusion over whether it met a three month deadline.
Abu Qatada has been described as the “spiritual leader of Al-Qaeda in Europe”, and has been associated with groups including those responsible for the 2004 Madrid bombings and with Chechen separatists. His sermons were found in the Hamburg apartment of 9/11 attack leader Mohammed Atta. He is under global sanctions according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 for his affiliation with Al-Qaeda.
Speaking on the issue this week, British prime minister David Cameron said “I am absolutely clear, the entire government is clear, and frankly I think the country is clear, that this man has no right to be in our country,” Cameron said late Wednesday. “That is what we are determined to achieve, no matter how difficult it is, no matter how long it may take.”