Thursday, 28 March 2013

Finding an audience for Abu Qatada

When considering human rights, the good people of Britain are in a very fortunate position.  The serial injustices of the 60's and 70's, committed by the police and the Army against innocent Irish men and women, have left a legacy of extreme tolerance in the Judicial establishment. This tolerance has been at its most noticeable when we have to deal with the rights of foreigners.  Our privately educated upper middle class judges have a myopic world view.  This Judging class suffer an acute colonial angst and this combined with an inflated opinion of international legal conventions has created a series of farcical deportation stalemates.  The current case of the unpleasantly bearded cleric Abu Qatada is just another ‘brick in the wall’ for our judicial ivory tower.

Abu Qatada is obviously a menace.  He came here from Jordan in September 1993 with his wife and five children, using a forged UAE passport (why is it that baddies often successfully support enormous families). He requested asylum on grounds of religious persecution, claiming he had been tortured in Jordan, and this was granted in June 1994.  After eight years of preaching annoying drivel and Jihad he was detained in 2002 under Tony Blair’s anti-terrorism Act.  Since then he has been in and out of jail.   We now face the problem of wanting to deport him back to Jordan to be tried for offenses he committed there in 1993.  The obvious legal problem is that we can’t in all honesty send him back to a country from which we originally gave him asylum.  Although there are some who insist that Britain cannot be responsible for setting and maintaining global legal standards, I think it’s pretty clear that we should not deport people to countries where a fair trial is unlikely.

There remains an on-going row about whether he can continue to be locked-up in Britain or whether he should be bailed or even set free!  So if we don’t want the cost of having Abu Qatada here and we can’t send him back to Jordan what are the alternatives.

Well, he was born 52 years ago in Bethlehem, so we could send him back to Israel, which might be interesting.  More sensibly we should send him to UAE on the basis that he faked UAE nationality when he arrived here.  However, UAE adherence the Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to a fair trial, maybe a trifle suspect!  In the old days we could have transported him to Australia; although the Queen remains the head of state in the Outback I doubt they would be happy to receive him. 

It seems this can only get messier and messier for HM Government.  There could be an option, that might be interesting – deport him to the Falklands!  As a British Overseas Territory we would have no problem bundling him on a plane to Port Stanley.  To my knowledge the sheep farming community down there will not be swayed by his arguments for Jihad and his presence might deter the Argies from another invasion.

He could preach all day to this lot!

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