Extensive debate over radical cleric Abu Qatada’s future in Britain has raged during the past weeks. Immigration solicitors will inevitably come across multiple cases where the application of human rights standards produce results that seem incomprehensible to many.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain could not deport Qatada to Jordan as long as there is a risk that his right to a fair trial would be violated by admitting evidence against him obtained under torture. Importantly, the Court never ruled that Qatada should be made a free man.
Many professionals highlight that Qatada could remain behind bars if he was charged and convicted in the UK. Immigration and human rights do not value Qatada's right to a fair trial over the security of British citizens. The law is concerned with both.
The current state of affairs partly reflects national authorities’ reluctance to put Qatada on trial as their mistake, of classifying him as harmless when he entered the country, would be highlighted The fact that Britain does not automatically deport Qatada to Jordan is perhaps the price of the Government abiding by the rule of law and upholding liberty.
Therese Wallin is Content Editor at Contact Law (Thomson Reuters) and reflects here about some of the current ongoing issues affecting many in the UK. Therese has an LLB in Law and Human Rights and an LLM in Public International Law.