The government of the United Kingdom lost an appeal against a decision by the court that blocked authorities from deporting Jordanian cleric Abu Qatada, a known terrorist suspect. Wednesday, a three-judge panel delivered the appeal verdict in the latest part of the nearly decade-long attempt by British officials to deport the cleric, who was convicted in 1998, in Jordan for terrorism.
A government official said this was not the end of their attempt to deport the cleric. The British government, said the spokesman, would continue working jointly with Jordanians to address all of the legal issues still outstanding that are preventing Abu Qatada from being deported.
The appeals denial on Wednesday comes following a Special Immigration Appeals Committee ruling last November that the cleric could not be deported because of fears that evidence that had been obtained through acts of torture might be used in any retrial against him.
Abu Qatada had been released on bail until he broke his bail conditions and was put back into jail.
In his March 11 hearing, home secretary Theresa May’s lawyers challenged the decision by SIAC blocking the cleric’s deportation, by saying, its view was erroneous on the situation in Jordan. The lawyers said there would be no risk of a denial of justice and the courts in Jordan would consider all of the evidence on hand.
Lawyers for Qatada argued that compelling and concrete evidence existed that the co-defendants of Qatada were tortured into giving evidence to authorities. The cleric was once considered Osama bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe.