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Abu Qatada deportation appeal circus rolls on | Immigration Matters

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Lawyers for the Secretary of State today told the Court of Appeal that the block on deporting radical cleric Abu Qatada from the UK, a case which has been going on for 11 years under three Home Secretaries, should be removed, the BBC reports.

Last year senior judges ruled he could not be sent to Jordan for a retrial over alleged involvement in terrorism plots on the narrow legal issue that there was a “real risk” evidence gained by torture would be used.

Government lawyers argue that the courts took the “wrong approach” in reaching their decision and say a “fair” trial was possible. Judgement has been reserved and a decision is expect in the next few week.

Addressing the court, James Eadie QC, for the home secretary, said the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) had taken an “erroneous” view of the situation in Jordan and the legal tests that had to be applied when it came to assessing the conditions Abu Qatada could face there.

Lawyers for Abu Qatada told the court that the UK should not send someone back to a country with a “dubious human rights record”.

Edward Fitzgerald QC said Siac’s finding was “entirely reasonable and rational” and came after a series of court decisions said confessions obtained by torture would be admitted in evidence.

He said the government lawyers had “identified no error of law” and were “quarrelling with findings of fact”.

Last week Qatada was returned to prison for allegedly breaching his strict bail conditions. He is not in court for the hearing.

The preacher, who is in his early 50s, had been living on bail with his family in London since winning the latest stage of his battle against deportation.

The cleric has never been charged with a crime in the UK but the courts say he poses a serious threat to national security. Source: BBC.

Home Secretary Theresa May is in the middle of a major fight with the judiciary over what she sees as human rights abuses.

In a key ruling, the head of the immigration courts said measures introduced by Mrs May last summer to stop criminals claiming the “right to family life” were overridden by judges’ previous decisions on such cases at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

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