Abu Qatada victory a 'mockery': UK press

2012-11-13 10:01
Radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada sits in a car as he is driven away from a Special Immigration Appeals Hearing at the High Court in London in April 2012. (File, AFP)

Radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada sits in a car as he is driven away from a Special Immigration Appeals Hearing at the High Court in London in April 2012. (File, AFP)

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London - A British court's decision to block the deportation of radical Islamist cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan has made a "mockery of justice", Britain's press said on Tuesday.

Qatada, who has been dubbed Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, will be freed on bail after judges on Monday upheld his appeal against extradition.

Popular tabloid The Sun ran with front-page headline "Abu Hiss", a heckle aimed at "soft judge" John Mitting while the Daily Mirror carried the headline "Laughing in our Faces" below a picture of the terror suspect.

The Daily Telegraph called the decision "a mockery of justice".

"Yet again, the extremist cleric - regarded as a serious threat to national security - has exposed the limitations of the British state to decide who can and cannot stay within its borders," said its editorial.

"Why should Britain stand as guarantor for the rectitude of the Jordanian legal system?" it asked.

Major blow

"Would any other country in the world have been willing to demonstrate its judicial impotence in such a humiliating fashion?"

The decision is a major blow for the British government after it fought for years to deport the radical Islamist preacher. It vowed to challenge the decision.

Judges ruled that evidence obtained through torture could be used against Qatada, a 51-year-old Jordanian of Palestinian origin, if he was sent back to face a retrial.

The Times said it was "offensive to ordinary standards of common sense that it should be impossible for a democratic government, taking every reasonable step to ensure due process, to deport someone like Abu Qatada to stand trial.

"If Abu Qatada has a public case to make against his homeland, he should make it. If not, he should go there and stand trial," argued the editorial.

"In the meantime, Britons are paying for 24-hour surveillance and protection for someone who preaches hatred of everything they stand for. Abu Qatada is making the law look like an ass."

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  abu qatada  |  uk
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