(London, UK) News that Abu Qatada has been acquitted of terrorism charges is a victory for human rights and a day of shame for British justice.
The case against him, which related to a conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts 1998 was thrown out for lack of credible evidence because the evidence used against him was gained through torture.
His treatment in Britain where he claimed asylum was spearheaded by leading politicians from all parties and incumbent Home Secretaries who used him as a target to court the most extreme elements of the British public and press , as a result of a vicious campaign against him, he spent 3-years in detention without trial that was later deemed unconstitutional, and another 9 years spent in prison or under house arrest – all of this despite the fact that he was never charged, tried or found guilty of any crime. No other person in modern European history has been kept in detention without charge or trial for this length of time.
Asim Qureshi, Research Director at CAGE , said: ‘It’s ironic that the animosity towards terror suspects such as Abu Qatada in the UK has reached such extraordinary levels that that they are more likely to receive a modicum of justice elsewhere – even in a country where the bar for human rights is set much lower.’
‘CAGE has been campaigning for adherence to the rule of law and due process for over ten years. The treatment of Abu Qatada illustrates what happens when politicians, the judiciary and the legal profession ignore these principles and when government interference, arbitrary detention and trial by media are allowed to take root. The relentless campaign not only targeted him but his family who were forced to flee the country and the community from which he came from. The treatment of Abu Qatada has been a disgraceful chapter in the protection of civil liberties, all concerned with his case should hold their head in shame but the sentiment that led to his appalling treatment has been unleashed and is creating daily injustices led by a media frenzy over the so called “Muslim threat “and a judicial system which is coerced to treat Muslims outside of the rule of law.’
‘We also note with concern a statement by a British judge, SIAC chairman Mr Justice Collins based on evidence seen in secret that Abu Qatada was ‘a truly dangerous individual' . Clearly secret evidence is creating an injustice in court that has now been exposed by a court in a supposedly less developed legal jurisdiction. We call on the government to get rid of secret evidence altogether and demand full transparency in our judicial system.’
1. Information about Abu Qatada's case can be read here: https://cage.ngo/article/abu-qatada-unsurprising-verdict
2. CAGE (formerly known as CagePrisoners) is an independent advocacy organisation that works to empower communities affected by the War on Terror and to highlight abuses of due process.
3. Information about Mr Justice Collins' statement who was chair of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission can be read here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/cleric-abuqatadabranded-truly-dangerous-6290862.html
Contact: Mr Amandla Thomas-Johnson
Phone: +(44) 207 377 6700
27 Old Gloucester Street
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)