They said the court accepted that Qatada “is regarded as a very dangerous person” – but that this was not “a relevant consideration” under existing human rights laws because there is still a possibility that torture evidence would be used against the clerk, and his co-accused, if they stood trial in Jordan.
In short, the High Court has effectively said that the legal interests of an odious individual previously convicted of plots to carry out terrorist attacks should take precedence over the safety of the British public.
Though embarrassing for Mrs May, who has shown considerable resolution in her desire to rid this country of Qatada before he has the chance to indoctrinate another generation of young Muslims with his betrayal of Islam’s central tenets, she is not the first Home Secretary to be bedevilled by this case. Nor is she likely to be the last, given that the only grounds open to the Government is an appeal restricted to very specific points of law.
As such, there is every likelihood that this impasse will continue, even though Parliament is virtually united in its desire to see Qatada extradited to his homeland.
To compound matters, the preacher – currently residing in custody after an alleged breach of bail conditions – now wants the courts to end his detention behind bars so he and his extended family can continue claiming very generous housing benefit handouts which already exceed £500,000.
It is, therefore, even more paramount that Mrs May and her officials prolong their dialogue with the Jordanians to see if assurances can be agreed that satisfy the demands of the High Court. This process must continue.
Yet, at the same time, the coalition needs to point out to the EU that the Human Rights Act was intended to protect ordinary people – and not those preachers who advocate the mass slaughter of the innocents – and that it needs modifying at the earliest possible opportunity before Britain and Europe become even more alienated.