Britain outraged as compensation ordered for terror detainees

February 19th, 2009 - 10:32 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 19 (IANA) Britain-based radical Muslim preacher Abu Qatada was Thursday awarded 2,500 pounds in compensation by the European Court of Human Rights - less than 24 hours after a British court ruled that he could be deported to his native Jordan.
The Strasbourg-based court ruled that Qatada and 10 other men being held in a high-security British prison under anti-terrorism laws must be paid 79,000 pounds in compensation and legal costs.

The ruling provoked outrage in Britain with the opposition Conservative Party home affairs spokesman Chris Gayling saying it “will horrify most reasonable people in the UK”.

“It shows just how incompetent the government has been at managing the problem of preachers of hate and, frankly, it makes a mockery of the concept of human rights if we can’t protect ourselves against people who are out to destroy our society,” he said.

British Home Minister Jacqui Smith said she was “very disappointed” with the European ruling, but pointed out that the award was “substantially lower” than what the 11 men had sought.

Qatada, who came to Britain on a forged passport in 1993, was once described as an associate of fugitive Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and has been criticised for supporting fatwas calling for the killing of non-believers.

A number of his videos were found in the Hamburg flat of Mohammed Atta, one of the ringleaders of the 9/11 hijackers.

The European court said his detention in British jails after 9/11 was a violation of his human right but its award represented only a fraction of the 170,000 pounds that Qatada had demanded in compensation.

It ruled that the detention Qatada and 10 others at Britain’s Belmarsh prison under anti-terror laws introduced after 9/11 had violated the human rights convention.

In total, the British government was ordered to pay around 26,000 pounds to the detainees, plus 53,000 pounds in legal costs. The money must be paid within three months.

After years of appealing the British judicial system against his deportation, Qatada lost the latest round of his legal battle Wednesday when the House of Lords - Britain’s apex court - accepted that his deportation would not endanger his life.

In 1999, Qatada was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia in Jordan for conspiracy to carry out bomb attacks on two hotels in Amman and for providing finance and advice for another planned series of bombings.

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