Can the ECHR halt the deportation of Abu Qatada?
This is lunacy, when one considers that Mr Qatada could have walked free at any time if he had simply agreed to leave Britain.
Much wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Abu Qatada has been referred to by a British judge as ‘Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe’, and the Home Secretary has identified him as ‘a truly dangerous individual’. Doubtless others have called him far worse.
He has been in the UK for many years, happily living off the taxpayer, and now the taxpayer shall compensate him for the inconvenience he has suffered while a guest in this country.
It is therefore with a degree of relief and an expression of confidence in the criminal justice system that five Law Lords have unanimously decreed that Abu Qatada must be deported to Jordan, whence he came.
But it transpires that Mr Qatada's lawyer has submitted an application to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Mr Qatada cannot now be deported until the appeal bid has been considered. Any appeal may take up to two years. In the meantime, HM Government (ie the taxpayer) shall provide him and his family with an £800,000 house in West London, and all the welfare benefits they require.
Cranmer does not mean to be thick, but he was under the impression that Labour’s Human Rights Act 1998 gave legal effect in the UK to the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. This was to put a stop to the steady stream of alleged human rights violations being appealed to Strasbourg before they became a tidal wave.
The 1998 Act therefore obliges all UK courts, including the Law Lords, to consider the provisions of the European Convention before dispensing judgement, and to ensure that judgements are in accordance with it.
How, then, can the European Court of Human Rights remain in any sense a superior appellate court to the House of Lords?
And on a tangential matter, Abu Qatada is concerned that his enforced repatriation to Jordan is likely to result in him being severely punished, even executed, for his alleged involvement in acts of terrorism.
Again, Cranmer, does not mean to be thick. But why should those Muslims who wish to see Shari’a law in the UK be protected from its punitive excesses when they are obliged to go and live in a more Shari’a compliant country?