Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > UK to deport ten 'preachers of hate' who are "threat to national security" Al Qaeda leader Abu Qatada under house arrest
UK to deport ten 'preachers of hate' who are "threat to national security" Al Qaeda leader Abu Qatada under house arrest
Anti terror moves to depart foreign clerics will be test of UK resolve
August 11, 2005
MIM: According to UK law which was changed after pressure from those concerned with terrorist civil liberties the ten cannot be detained in prison and are not under home surveillance which begs the question as to how much litigation and time will elapse before they will actually be removed from British soil.
LONDON, Aug 11 (KUNA) -- Ten foreign nationals who are believed to pose a "threat to national security" were Thursday detained by police to be deported, British Home Secretary Charles Clarke said.
The BBC said the ten people have not so far been named but it understood that they include the radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada The Home Secretary said in a statement "In accordance with my powers to deport individuals whose presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good for reasons of national security, the Immigration Service has today detained ten foreign nationals who I believe pose a threat to national security." "They will be held in secure prison service accommodation and I shall not disclose their names." "Following months of diplomatic work we now have got reason to believe that we can get the necessary assurances from the countries to which we will return the deportees so that they will not be subject to torture or ill-treatment," he added.
Abu Qatada, described as al-Qaeda's spiritual ambassador in Europe, is believed to be among the ten held today, the British media said.
Qatada, 44, a Jordanian father of five who has lived in the UK for 12 years, is currently the subject of a control order at his London home.
Control orders were imposed after the British Government's policy of detaining foreign terror suspects without charge was ruled unlawful by the House of Lords.
Some of the other people detained today were also subject to control orders, sources told the media.
Today's detentions follow the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Jordan yesterday ensuring deportees would not be mistreated on their return.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair also had "constructive conversations" with authorities in Algeria and Lebanon last week over guaranteeing the safety of deportees.
In all, Britain is looking for assurances from 10 countries, a Home Office spokeswoman said.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said "We can confirm that officers from the Metropolitan Police this morning supported the Immigration Service as they served notices under the UK Immigration Act at a number of addresses across the British capital." A number of individuals were detained by the Immigration Service and police assisted with the transfer of these individuals into the care of the Prison Service, she added.
In his statement, the Home Secretary said "The Immigration Act 1971 gives me powers to deport individuals and to detain them pending deportation." "The circumstances of our national security has changed." "It is vital that we act against those who threaten it," he added.
Last Friday, the Prime Minister set out a 12-point plan to crack down on terrorists and their supporters in the wake of the London bombings.
These included tougher new rules to deport people from the United Kingdom if their presence was "not conducive to the public good." The Home Secretary already has extensive powers to deport non-British citizens, with no right of appeal.
But Blair said the powers would be extended.
Under the Human Rights Act, the Government cannot deport people who face torture or execution in their home countries.
The agreement with Jordan was designed to ensure that Qatada could be lawfully deported.
Control orders were set up by Clarke last March to replace earlier laws which allowed foreign terror suspects to be detained without charge or trials which were criticised by the House of Lords for not complying with human rights laws.
It is thought 11 people are currently subject to control orders including Qatada and Mahmoud Suliman Ahmed Abu Rideh, 33, who is also Jordanian.
Move to expel 'al-Qaeda cleric' will test Britain's resolve on law
By Daniel McGrory and Richard Ford
Tough plan faces opposition over deportation to 'abuse' countries
BRITAIN'S promised crackdown on the "preachers of hate" will begin today with a move to deport Abu Qatada, described as al-Qaeda's spiritual ambassador in Europe.
The attempt to send the cleric back to Jordan comes just hours after Britain signed a controversial deal with the authorities in Amman for them to take undesirables thrown out of Britain. The order to remove Abu Qatada will be seen as a test of the Government's determination to deal with militants who allegedly stir up hatred.
Whitehall officials accept the attempt to deport Abu Qatada, 44, after 12 years will determine how successful their counter-terror measures will be in the courts. This case is also regarded by ministers as the first indication of the judges' willingness to accept Tony Blair's assertion that "the rules of the game have changed".
The Jordanian father of five, currently the subject of a control order at his London home, is likely to be moved to an immigration detention centre.The legal process will begin with Charles Clarke informing the Jordanians of his intention to deport the cleric.
A diplomatic source in Amman said "We are perfectly aware of who it is that Britain is talking about sending here".
Mr Clarke will need assurances from Jordan that Abu Qatada's human rights will not be abused and he will not face the death penalty.
His lawyers can immediately appeal against his deportation. They could also ask for him to be allowed to return home rather than stay in detention. His appeal will be dealt with the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
MPs from all parties have long called for his expulsion after security chiefs in Europe alleged he was linked to terrorist attacks including the bombing of four commuter trains in Madrid in March 2004.
He also is suspected of inspiring Mohammed Atta, the leader of the September 11 hijackers and the shoe bomber, Richard Reid. His name is included on an American list of "designated global terrorist individuals".
Jordan is the first of what Mr Blair hopes will be around ten countries who will agree not to mistreat or torture deportees from Britain.
Abu Qatada, whose is also known as Sheikh Omar Abu Omar, has already been sentenced to life imprisonment in his absence by Jordan in 1998 for his involvement in a series of bomb plots. He has always denied having any links with terrorism.
Human rights groups immediately condemned Britain signing a memorandum of understanding with Jordan which they claim has a record of torturing terror suspects. Amnesty International said "This deal is not worth the paper it is written on".
Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty's Europe and Central Asia Director, said "These assurances rely on the good faith of states that are known to torture their subjects, a practice which few states admit to. How does Charles Clarke propose to monitor whether these promises are being honoured?"
Amnesty also claims that other countries expected to sign a similar deal with the UK — including Yemen, Algeria and Syria — also have deplorable records on human rights.
Abu Qatada, who describes himself as a Palestinian-Jordanian arrived here in 1993 claiming he was fleeing religious persecution.
His followers insist he is one of the most formidable and respected Koranic scholars of his generation.
His prayer meetings were attended by Zacarias Moussaoui. the so-called 20th hijacker. He is also alleged to have encouraged young British Muslims to attend terrorist training camps abroad.
He was the most high profile figure of the 12 held under the government's emergency terror laws, whom the Home Office was later forced to release on the orders of the Law Lords. The suspects were put under control orders which amounted to virtual house arrest.
Mr Justice Collins, President of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission, described Abu Qatada in an earlier judgement as being "at the centre in the United Kingdom of terrorist activities" associated with al-Qaeda. "He is a truly dangerous individual."