Abu Qatada legal aid bill hits £500,000

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The legal aid bill for terror suspect Abu Qatada stands at more than £500,000 and is still rising, the Government has disclosed.

As of December 5, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) had paid out £515,778 to Qatada in legal aid. Final bills have not been received.

The figure was released to Labour MP Valerie Vaz in a written parliamentary answer by Justice Minister Jeremy Wright.

He said: “The LSC have not received final claims from Abu Qatada’s solicitors, but have confirmed that they had provided £515,778 in legal aid funding to Abu Qatada as of December 5.”

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission last month upheld Qatada’s appeal against deportation to Jordan as it ruled that, despite assurances from the Arab kingdom, it could not be sure evidence from witnesses who had been tortured would not be included in a retrial in his homeland.

The Government is appealing against the decision but Qatada – convicted of terror charges in Jordan in his absence in 1999 – remains in the UK on bail conditions including a 16-hour curfew and wearing an electronic tag.