1. ITV Report

What next in the Abu Qatada deportation battle?

Terror suspect Abu Qatada arrives at a north London house after leaving Long Lartin high security prison. Photo: PA Wire

Successive governments have been trying for years to deport him to Jordan, but Abu Qatada has fought them every step of the way.

The Home Secretary has vowed that the Government would continue to fight to "get rid" of the radical cleric so what happens next in the ongoing deportation battle?

Can the Government do anything after judges approved Qatada's appeal against deportation to Jordan?

The Government can, and is, appealing to the Court of Appeal to apply for permission to appeal the decision. They could appeal on a point of law, by arguing that Mr Justice Mitting or Qatada's counsel made a mistake or misinterpreted a point of law for example. They are unable to appeal on points of fact, such as Jordan's judicial system.

How long could that take?

Once the Government apply for permission a High Court judge will consider the paperwork to see if there is merit in the case. If there is then a High Court hearing or series of hearings will be set and the process will most likely take some time. Independent reviewer of terrorism David Anderson estimates up to a year, other lawyers say it could take longer.

What will happen to Qatada if the appeal does go ahead?

If the appeal goes ahead, Qatada will remain on bail, at a registered address. If permission to appeal is rejected, or if the appeal runs its course and fails, then the bail arrangements must cease. At that point the Government will almost certainly apply to put Qatada on a TPIM (Terrorism Interim Prevention Measure).

Abu Qatada is driven out of Long Lartin high security prison. Credit: PA Wire

How does a TPIM work?

A TPIM is the modern equivalent of a control order, and is used to control a suspect who, for whatever reason, cannot be charged and brought before a court. It is effectively a form of house arrest, controlling the movements, meetings and communication of a suspect so as to prevent then from contacting others who are also suspected of terrorist involvement.

Typical measures include living at a designated address, wearing an electronic tag, an overnight curfew, exclusion from specified areas in the UK, restrictions on foreign travel, restrictions on handing money or having bank accounts, prevention on meeting certain named individuals (or even on pre-arranged meetings with anyone without approval from the Home Office), restrictions on areas of work or study, restrictions of internet and mobile phone use.

How long does a TPIM last for?

A TPIM lasts for a year and can then be extended for another year. After that a new TPIM may be issued but the Secretary of State will need to have a reasonable belief that the suspect has engaged in terroris related activity since the original order was imposed, and convince a court that it is necessary.

Are there any other options?

Ignore the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR): There have been calls from many Tory backbenchers and others for the Government to ignore the ECHR (and indeed SIAC) and simply extradite Qatada to Jordan.

Supporters of this view point out that Italy successfully extradited convicted terrorist Ali Toumi to Tunisia and suffered a penalty of only 12,000 Euros. Detractors point out that the British Government must act at all times within the law, and that to ignore ECHR rulings not only undermines the Government's credibility at home but also weakens Britain's ability to hold other countries with poor human rights records to account.

Jordan's judicial system: The King of Jordan is over next week. If Jordan (which has already made changes to its constitution) could make sufficient changes to its legal system, then at some point in the future it might be possible to re-apply to extradite, but that won't happen within the timescale of the Government's current attempts to appeal.

Britain's judicial system:There is currently no prospect of trying Qatada in the UK as there is not evidence admissible in a British court on which to try him. The evidence against him supposedly relating to terrorist activity in Britain takes the form of telephone intercepts which are not admissible in a court of law in the UK.

There have been previous trials run by the Home Office to test whether so called "intercept" evidence could be used in British trials, they have so far concluded that the damaged cause to the security service and police surveillance operations outweighs the public benefit of being able to put people like Qatada on trial.

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