Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

MP slams human rights court payouts

Britain has lost 202 European human rights cases involving criminals such as Abu Qatada since 1998, it has been reported

Britain has lost 202 European human rights cases involving criminals since 1998, resulting in millions of pounds of payouts, it has been reported.

Judges in Strasbourg have paid out £4.4 million to recipients including murderers, rapists, paedophiles and terrorists, according to the Daily Mail.

The House of Commons figures have led one Tory MP to describe the payouts as "an absolutely scandalous waste of money".

Philip Davies, who obtained the figures and placed them in the Commons library, told the newspaper: "I'm not aware of my decent law-abiding constituents running off to the European Court of Human Rights.

"It is a charter for illegal immigrants and criminals."

Mr Davies added: "The sooner we scrap the Human Rights Act and leave the European Convention on Human Rights the better."

The Mail reports that Abu Qatada, who was deported this year , received £2,000 because the court ruled he was unlawfully detained.

Qatada fled to Britain from Jordan in 1993 with his wife and their first three children. He was granted leave to remain the following year after claiming asylum on the grounds of religious persecution. Meanwhile, the Jordanian authorities convicted him of terror charges in his absence.

In 2001 he went on the run after being questioned over alleged links to a German terror cell.

He was finally arrested in 2002 and detained at Belmarsh high security jail in south-east London, b ut he was never charged, and attempts to deport him to his native Jordan were resisted by the European Court on human rights grounds.

Qatada only gave up his fight after the Jordanian government ratified a new treaty guaranteeing his right to a fair trial.

Liam Averill, a Northern Ireland republican who was dubbed Mrs Doubtfire in the tabloids after an escape in drag from the Maze Prison in December 1997, was awarded £5,000 because he had no lawyer for 24 hours after his arrest, the Mail said

Averill was jailed for life in December 1995 for the murder of two men as they sat in a car in Garvagh, Co Derry, in 1994.

During a Christmas party for children in the jail, he disguised himself as a woman visiting the prison and was transported out of the Maze.

The Mail said Soviet spy George Blake was awarded £4,700 in 2006 because Britain tried to stop him making money from his memoirs.

According to the newspaper, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has described the sums paid out in such circumstances as " very unpalatable".

"As I'm sure the victims and their families feel, I find it very unpalatable such sums are being handed over to some very unpleasant individuals," he said.

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