Thursday, 16 February 2012

What to do with Abu

The Islamist miltant Abu Qatada who was released from a high security prison earlier this week has spent much of the last decade either in custody awaiting deportation or under house arrest, as he is again now.

Qatada apparently cannot be put on trial as it would jepordise the safety of MI5 officers who gave evidence, although why they can't do so from behind a screen ot by video link with their voices disguised I'm not sure.  It may also be that the evidence against him would if presented in open court endanger ongoing MI5 operations.

The Government's preferred option of deporting him to his native Jordan, where he has been found guilty in his absence of terrorist offences, has so far been blocked on the grounds that the Jordanian government might torture him or reconvict him with evidence obtained from others by torture. Similarly, his extradition to the United States where he is also wanted on terrorist charges is unlikely to go ahead unless a guarantee is given that he won't be executed or given a whole life sentence.

Given that he cannot remain indefinitely on bail conditions that amount to house arrest and allowing him to operate freely in Britain is out of the question, a deal whereby he is deported to Jordan with an assurance that he isn't tortured seems the most likely outcome.  Failing that, perhaps the Government could go for the Napoleon on St Helena option and send him and his family to a remote British territory under armed guard.  I hear the Falklands are lovely this time of year.

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