Abu Qatada, the radical preacher fighting against detention, has lost his latest UK appeal for freedom.
Two High Court judges rejected his application for a judicial review against his continuing detention by Home Secretary Theresa May.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) ruled two months ago that the detention of Qatada, who is fighting deportation to Jordan, was lawful.
Leaving him free during heightened security for the 2012 Olympics would be “exceptionally problematic”, a judge said.
Lord Justice Hughes, sitting with Mr Justice Silber, said the court was “quite satisfied” that Qatada’s judicial review application should be dismissed.
It took judges less than five minutes to make the decision.
After the decision was announced, lawyers for Qatada indicated they would consider taking the case to the Court of Appeal once they have seen the court’s reasons for its ruling
Lawyers for Qatada had attempted to use the ancient legal procedure of habeas corpus at the High Court to argue that his detention while awaiting deportation is unlawful.
Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Qatada, told Lord Justice Hughes and Mr Justice Silber: “Our submission is that the detention has already gone on for so long as to be disproportionate and unlawful.”
A seven-year period pending deportation “is so long as to make further detention unwarranted”.
He pointed out that deportation was not “imminent”, adding: “That is to say it cannot be said that deportation can reasonably be expected to take place within a matter of months.”
Mr Fitzgerald told the court: “There comes a point where detention is just too long, and this is the longest period of administrative detention, so far as we know, in modern English history.”
He said: “It cannot be right, when we are already at seven years – and when there is an inevitable likelihood this is going to go on for at least another year – for there to be continued detention of Mr Othman.”
Qatada is currently fighting deportation to Jordan, where he faces terror charges, and was refused bail by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission in May.
Qatada, who is said to have wide and high-level support among Islamic extremists, was convicted in his absence in Jordan of involvement with terror attacks in 1998 and faces a retrial in his home country.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, restarted deportation proceedings in April after she received assurances from the Jordanian authorities that evidence obtained by torture would not be used against him.
Qatada is now challenging those assurances at Siac and his legal team say they will take the battle back to the European courts if Siac rules against him at a tribunal hearing fixed for October.
Qatada, who is accused of involvement in several bomb attacks, is being held at high-security Long Lartin Prison in Worcestershire.
Repeated failed attempts by UK governments over the last 10 years to deport the radical cleric have cost nearly £1 million in legal fees, Government figures show. Source: The Telegraph.
This week it was revealed that the UKBA spent £9million this year chartering 37 flights, equating to £250,000 per plane. Some flights are leaving nearly empty after last-minute appeals from those facing deportation.
Immigration Advisers Bison Management has dealt with many cases of migrants who have overstayed their visa period. Immigration Adviser Cynthia Barker said:
‘Overstaying applicants are normally automatically refused unless there is a strong case for a human rights appeal or for instance where they are in a relationship or have a child with British or EEA national’.
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