Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Abu Qatada treaty wins approval

Authorities have been attempting to remove radical cleric Abu Qatada from Britain since 2005

The UK Government has approved a treaty geared towards ejecting radical cleric Abu Qatada from the country.

The agreement, announced by the Home Secretary in April, aims to allay fears that evidence extracted through torture will be used against the terror suspect at a retrial.

The UK parliamentary scrutiny process completed at midnight on Thursday, leaving a handful of legal steps before the deportation process can begin.

Both houses of the Jordanian parliament and the country's king have also approved the treaty.

However, Theresa May previously warned that, even when the treaty is fully ratified, it will not necessarily mean that Qatada will be on a plane to Jordan within days. The case remains open to legal challenge.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We welcome the approval of the Treaty by both the UK and Jordanian Parliaments. Our focus remains on seeing Qatada on a plane to Jordan at the earliest opportunity."

The treaty must be published in the Jordanian government's official gazette and a number of diplomatic notes must be exchanged before the treaty enters into force. It is understood this will be done by the end of the month.

Last month, Qatada unexpectedly volunteered to leave the country as soon as the treaty between the UK and Jordan is ratified by both countries.

The Government has been trying to deport Qatada to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999, for about eight years. It emerged last week that the fight to remove him from Britain has cost the taxpayer more than £1.7 million since 2005.

Qatada is behind bars in London's Belmarsh prison after breaching a bail condition which restricts use of mobile phones and other communication devices.

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office(The Home Office)

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