Abu Qatada: Not an EU decision

First published in Letters by

YOUR correspondent Philip Roe is mistaken. The EU does indeed have a legal system and a court, known as the European Court of Justice, which adjucates between EU countries, companies and individuals on issues arising from EU law, usually on matters of taxation, competition law and so on.

So far as I am aware, this court has never been asked to make a judgement in relation to Abu Qatada.

The UK government would like to deport Abu Qatada to Jordan, the country of which he is a citizen and where he is wanted on charges of terrorism. He has been resident in the UK since 1994, when he was granted asylum.

He is said to hold views with which most UK citizens would strongly disagree but has never been convicted in this country, although it is alleged he has preached in support of actions most of us would regard as terrorist.

Abu Qatada’s case has been considered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which sits in the French city of Strasbourg.

This court has no connection with the EU. It was set up to hear cases brought under the European Convention of Human Rights, a treaty drawn after the Second World War, at the instigation of the UK government and others in order to prevent any future recurrence of the persecution of vulnerable communities and individuals by their own governments that had gone on before and during the war, all over Europe.

Chris Walker-Lyne, Millfield Road York.

 

• I DO wish people would get their facts right before writing letters.

Philip Roe (Letters, November 15) states that it was an EU decision to allow Abu Qatada to be freed on bail. Absolutely wrong. The decision to grant bail to Qatada was made by Special Immigration Appeals Commission chairman Mr Justice Mitting, who had earlier upheld his appeal against deportation after lawyers claimed he would not get a fair trial in Jordan, where he is accused of plotting bomb attacks.

Also, judges at the European Court in Strasbourg dealt with this early in 2012. If I remember my schoolboy geography, Strasbourg is in France, not Belgium.

Dave Platt, Keepers Way, Dunnington, York.

 

• BRITISH governments have been trying to deport the radical Muslim Cleric Abu Qatada since 2001.

It is probably true that 95 per cent of the British people want this man sent back to Jordan to face trial and thus save the UK taxpayer millions of pounds. Three British PMs and six Foreign Secretaries have all failed to achieve this simple aim because of very clever lawyers, the European Court of Human Rights and by errors made by people like Theresa May (who got her dates wrong).

Many people say: “Just put him on a plane and send him away”.

I agree with that sentiment 100 per cent, but we cannot just pick and choose which laws we happen to like or disagree with. The laws clearly need to be altered and this country should opt out of the ECHR, and we should charge Abu Qatada with crimes committed in this country and try him in a UK court and if found guilty, deport him.

Technically, he has broken no laws in England but has been imprisoned awaiting deportation. The only winners in this farce are the lawyers. Many more years will pass before this nonsense comes to an end.

David Quarrie, Lynden Way, Holgate, York.

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