Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Qatada deportation moves closer

Abu Qatada volunteered to leave the country as soon as the treaty between the UK and Jordan is ratified by both countries

The UK Government is expected to take its final steps towards ratifying a treaty designed to trigger the removal of radical cleric Abu Qatada from the country.

The agreement, unveiled 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 process towards ratifying the treaty should be completed by Friday at the latest, while the King of Jordan and the Jordanian parliament have approved the agreement in their country.

The treaty must be published in the Jordanian government's official gazette and a number of ratification instruments must be exchanged between the countries before the process is complete. 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 around 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.

Home Secretary 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 appeal.

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

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) previously heard that a USB stick understood to belong to Qatada's eldest son contained "jihadist files" made by the "media wing of al Qaida". The terror suspect is also being investigated by Scotland Yard over suspected extremist material found during the search of his home.

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