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Abu Qatada Deportation Leads To Celebration And Potential Benefit Changes

Aug 1, 2010
Home Secretary Theresa May has said that the deportation of terror suspect Abu Qatada is a major step for the UK and that it will lead to changes within deportation laws and appeal laws, as well as to benefit laws, in order to facilitate the easier removal of terror suspects in the future. Abu Qatada’s family have received more than half a million pound in benefits since first arriving in the country. The Home Secretary received cheers as she announced that Qatada had finally been put on a plane back to his homeland of Jordan.

It took twelve years to have cleric Abu Qatada deported from the UK and, as Theresa May finally announced that he had been placed on a plane back to his homeland of Jordan, cheers could be heard from those in Parliament. It also emerged that his family had received more than £500,000 in benefits since they arrived in the country and while is likely to be the largest amount of this type of date, it isn’t the only one.

Cleric Abu Hamza cost the UK taxpayer nearly £350,000 before he was sent back to the USA while Anjem Choudary receives benefits of £26,000 per annum. In the case of Abu Qatada, though, it can be considered the most expensive of all the legal bills of its type. It is estimated that the battle to have Qutada shipped back to Jordan has cost a staggering total of £1.7m in taxpayer’s money. These figures were cited as being a miscarriage of justice before Ms May took a swipe at the European Court of Human Rights, which she said moved the goal posts several times during the case.

During her speech, Ms May said that “we must consider our relationship with the European Court very carefully, and I believe that all options – including withdrawing from the convention altogether – should remain on the table. During the course of the trial, May had been criticised for deferring to the European Court but she defends her decision by saying that it was the right thing to do at the time but that Qatada would have been deported long ago if not for the introduction of “unprecedented grounds to block it†by the European Court.

As well as looking to diminish the level of involvement that the European Court has over such trials, Theresa May has also said that she will be looking at other ways to ensure that similar problems will not surface in the future. One such action will be to limit the amount of benefits that terror suspects are able to receive while in the UK.

Legal Aid cuts have already reduced the amount of money that immigrants are able to benefit from and a new Immigration Bill would help to further increase the power that the government has when dealing with the likes of Abu Qatada again in the future. Qatada may have gone but it seems that the argument and the fallout from his case is certainly not over yet.
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