madaxeman

February 14, 2012

You’re not going to like this…

Filed under: Uncategorized — madaxeman @ 12:27 pm

What I am about to say will, I realise, make me pretty unpopular with some of you – especially if you take the Daily Mail, but it needs saying regardless…

Politicians are falling over themselves at the moment to express their shock that Abu Qatada has been released from prison, albeit on possibly the most restrictive bail conditions ever imposed in British legal history. They claim he’s a “dangerous” “extremist” “fundamentalist” preacher of hate, and that he constitutes a serious threat to our national security.

All of the above claims surrounding the man may, or perhaps may not, be true. We don’t know. The reason we don’t know is that despite being held in custody for over six years, we didn’t actually get around to charging the guy with anything. In SIX years. So what’s the problem then? A lack of evidence? Apparently not – it’s just that the “evidence” cannot be presented before a court of fear of the damage that might result to both ongoing operations and operatives themselves in the field. At least, this is what we are being told – so we can’t use the courts. That’s, erm, inconvenient. So our response, as a national that claims to value civil liberties and freedom, is to hold him without trial. I am, to put it mildly, ashamed.

We’ve tried to deport him back to Jordan, only to be thwarted by the European Court Of Human Rights, who are concerned that he might be subjected to a trial in Jordan that could be tainted by evidence gained under torture – therefore making both the evidence suspect and the trial itself unfair. This of course would be in conflict with his human right to a fair trial.

The term “Human Right” here is very important, because such rights apply universally – to everyone. If we decide that they can be applied selectively, then they cease to be rights – merely recommendations / guidelines / “nice to haves”. In essence, if these rights apply to you and I, then they should apply to Qatada – indeed anyone at all – even unpopular, inconvenient people that the state would rather be rid of.

The current plan to try to get the deportation going is to send a Minister over to Jordon to ask very nicely if they wouldn’t mind awfully signing a little undertaking promising that evidence gleaned through torture will not be used in any proceedings against him. I dare say the Jordanians won’t have any major difficulties with that idea, seeing as despite Amnesty Internationals view somewhat to the contrary, Jordan maintains that torture simply doesn’t happen there. But does an undertaking, itself based on a refusal to admit the truth, really count for anything? I would have to say no.

A number of politicians are now advocating sending Qatada to Jordon anyway, in defiance of the Court. This is an absolutely incredible position for them to take – let’s simply abandon the rule of law when we don’t like what it says. A fair and just society does not pick and choose which laws to follow, and does not act in open defiance of the courts…

Given that Islamic Fundamentalists are running around constant claiming that followers of Islam are somehow treated as second class citizens by the state, the wisdom of simply ignoring Qatada’s rights seems to be somewhat suspect in itself. Such action would only cement the notion in the minds of many young muslims – and if you think Qatada is a problem now, wait and see how much more so he becomes when he can start pointing at verifiable facts rather than fundamentalist bile…

So what should we do with him them? Probably like yourself, I’m not crazy about the idea of his walking around, free to continue his campaigns. So, I humbly present the following idea – that we treat Abu Qatada exactly the same as we treat Fred Bloggs – gather evidence of his misdeeds and try him before an open court. One imagines that with offences such as “Incitement to Religious Hatred” on the statute books, this ought not to prove too taxing. Maybe the CPS could find time to devote to this during the breaks in the #TwitterJokeTrial, which they seem rather keener to prosecute.

Qatada might well be a serious danger to this country, but if we overlook his human rights, indeed overlook the courts, then he will be one at least in part of our own making.

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