Abu Qatada exit moves closer as treaty published

Abu Qatada was flown to Jordan on Sunday morning. Picture: Getty
Abu Qatada was flown to Jordan on Sunday morning. Picture: Getty
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A TREATY designed to remove radical cleric Abu Qatada from the UK has moved another step toward to full ratification.

The agreement, which aims to allay fears that evidence extracted through torture will be used against the terror suspect at a retrial, has now been published in the Jordanian government’s official gazette – leaving just a handful of legal moves remaining before the deportation process can begin.

In May, Qatada unexpectedly volunteered to leave the country as soon as the treaty is ratified.

Security minister James Brokenshire said: “The publication of the treaty in the Jordanian 
Official Gazette is welcome. While further steps remain, our focus is on seeing Abu Qatada on a plane to Jordan at the earliest opportunity.”

The publication of the treaty in the gazette comes after both houses of the Jordanian parliament and the country’s king approved the treaty, while the UK parliamentary scrutiny process has also completed.

However, Home Secretary Theresa May previously warned that, even when the treaty is fully ratified, it will not necessarily mean that Qatada will be on a plane to Jordan within days.

The case remains open to legal challenge.

For the past eight years, the government has been attempting to deport Qatada to Jordan, where he was convicted of terror charges in his absence in 1999.

The legal battle to remove him from the UK has cost the taxpayer more than £1.7 million since 2005.