Abu Qatada Will Not Be Allowed To Re-enter The UK

Deported cleric and, now, acquitted bombing suspect, Abu Qatada will not be allowed to re-enter the UK, even though courts in Jordan have said that there is not enough evidence to prosecute him for the crimes. The cleric had been accused of plotting and helping to plot terrorist attacks that were due to be carried out during millennium celebrations, and sentenced to 15 years in prison in absentia; a sentence he never carried out because he had already entered the UK using a false passport and avoided being arrested.

It took several years before the UK government could officially throw him out of the country, and having returned to his home in Jordan, the man that was once described as being Bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe by a Spanish judge, will not be allowed to return to the UK according to the current Home Secretary Theresa May. It was under May’s guidance that the courts finally allowed Qatada to be deported back to Jordan to stand trial.

Ms May said that he is still under a deportation order as well as UN travel sanctions, meaning that he would not be allowed to come back. Qatada was said to have winked at family and friends before the verdict, and was then mobbed by supporters hugging him outside the courts. Ghazi Althunibat, one of the 53 year old’s lawyers, said outside the courts after the verdict was heard that “justice has been done today.â€

Qatada had previously been granted refugee status in the country, but was arrested under suspicion of terrorist acts in 2002. For 11 years he was held in highly secure prisons, but never received trial for his crimes. He argued that he wouldn’t receive a fair trial back in Jordan, and UK courts said that sending him back would constitute a breach of his human rights. It took millions of pounds before a court agreed, in 2013, that he could be deported, but it also took considerable negotiations between the UK government, Jordanian courts, and Qatada himself.

Perhaps crucially, it was agreed between all parties that any evidence he gave while under torture could not be used during his trial. This is the second trial against Qatada, since his return, and the second time that he has been acquitted – in the most recent case, he was found innocent after the judge read through the case notes and the evidence and declared that there was not sufficient enough evidence to proceed with a prosecution.

Qatada recently caused a stir by not supporting the murder of US prisoner James Foley; an act that he described as being un-Islamic, stating that “messengers should not be killed.†Outside court, one of his lawyers reiterated the fact that the 53 year old does not, apparently, support the actions of the Islamic State, and also said that he believes that UK citizen Alan Hemming should be freed. There are no further charges against Qatada, and another lawyer thanked the UK for ensuring that he could return for a fair trial in Jordan.