The price of freedom

Abu Qatada, the extremist cleric, will be back on the streets of Britain today and allowed to roam free for eight hours a day after a court ruled he cannot be deported.

The decision means that the security services and police will now have to watch him around the clock in a surveillance operation that is likely to cost the taxpayer more than £5 million a year.

Well, you see, here\’s the problem.

Being an extremist cleric is not a crime.

Plotting to blow people up is. Incitement to violence is. Terrorism is (unless you win in which case you\’re a freedom fighter).

And we\’ve this system that tries to determine whether you have indeed been plotting to blow people up, inciting violence, being a terrorist. It\’s called the legal system. It involves such things as evidence, testimony, judges, juries. Someone accuses you, the police investigate, the evidence is discussed in court, you get a chance to refute it, then some combination of the judges and or a jury decides whether you\’re guilty of that specific crime or not.

You can be banged up in prison if you\’ve been found guilty through such a process. You can also be banged up if said process is ongoing and there\’s a worry that you\’ll run away or that you\’ll nobble witnesses.

And that\’s about it really. You can\’t be banged up because you\’re an extremist cleric. And Mr. Abu hasn\’t been convicted of anything that actually is a crime…..or if he has he\’s already served his just and righteous sentence. As for running away, rather the problem is that he\’s refusing to do so. And he can\’t nobble witnesses as he\’s not even being charged with anything in this country.

So, free to walk the streets indeed.

On the other hand we are pretty sure he\’s a bad \’un. So keeping an eye on him to see whether he is inciting to violence etc. seems reasonable enough. We get to bang him up if we can prove, to the standards that the law requires, that he has committed a crime in this green and pleasant land.

As to the £5 million. Shrug. That\’s just the price that has to be paid to prove the contention that you cannot be locked up just because you\’re an extremist cleric. Nor just because there\’s a general feeling that you\’re a bad \’un. And £5 million a year to protect all 65 million of us from that seems cheap at the price.

25 comments on “The price of freedom

  1. So he’s free to preach hatred; but meanwhile a kid posting a mean message on Facebook or Twitter gets thrown in prison? The law is truly an ass.

  2. Yes, but we’re trying to send him to face trial and we’re not allowed to, that’s the point. Based on moving goalposts by people who aren’t elected or even in this country!

  3. And Mr. Abu hasn’t been convicted in the UK of anything that actually is a crime …

    Now, we apparently don’t have enough admissible evidence against him. Politicians’ promises about freedom of religious expression being taken in to account with such a high profile charlatan. Anyway, hence my suggestion on the previous thread that we allow the Jordanians to prosecute him in a UK court.

  4. AM: he may be free to preach hatred, but he hasn’t been caught doing so in a way that’s illegal in the UK (he’s also spent far more time in UK jail than any of the prats in the FB cases will do so, and the people following around won’t hesitate to have him sent back there if he’s caught committing more crimes).

    CM: the government are trying to send Qatada to face trial based on evidence obtained by torture, which is illegal under English law. The court which issued the ruling in question – the SIAC – is a British court. The European Court of Human Rights denied him leave to appeal. So no, Europe has bugger all to do with it.

    SE: I don’t think there’s any legal reason why the Jordanian government couldn’t bring a private prosecution in an English court is there? Well, apart from the fact that the evidence based on torture would be thrown out by an English judge and hence he’d be acquitted.

  5. Well, apart from the fact that the evidence based on torture would be thrown out by an English judge and hence he’d be acquitted.

    All the evidence against him is based on tortured confessions? There’s nothing else? I know that one of the key reasons he hasn’t been prosecuted here is the inadmissibility of intercept evidence under English law.

  6. I cannot understand why someone on benefit, in a council house can have 170K in cash…and maintain entitlement to the above.

    I cannot understand how someone who incites the murder of British allies can be entitled to safe haven here.

    Suppose I’m just very “nekulturny”. However, it’s a fair bet that 90% of the world is not thinking “wow, those Brits are so fantastic for giving safe harbour to someone like this” but actually thinking “those Brits are fucking idiots and obviously come from a decadent culture”. Guess which of those is liable to cost lots of British lives in the future?

  7. SE: Mitting J found that the evidence offered by Jordan against Qatada “seems extremely thin” in the absence of things that are inadmissable in E&W.

    RF: if your main criterion for a legal system is “will evil bastards overseas think that we’re hardmen or not”, then you probably don’t deserve its protection.

  8. john b: international law doesn’t declare we have to take anyone as a refugee if they threaten our security.

    Why does someone taken in as a refugee who then breaks the law have the same rights as I do?

  9. I’d suggest that entering a country on a false, stolen, or otherwise illegally-obtained passport is grounds sufficient for deportation to any country of which you are a citizen, irrespective of what they might do to you.

    Those with no passport should claim asylum the instant they arrive.

  10. By the way, this inability to get rid of people who don’t deserve to abode in the UK has a massive cost to other foreign persons.

    Normal law abiding citizens of countries thought of as a bit dodgy, have to jump through multiple hoops just to get the right to come and visit Buckingham Palace or whatever else takes their fancy.

    Many get turned down, others hate the UK by the time they have gone through the process.

    Yet if we could actually throw people out who we don’t want, the visa process could be a lot easier, and there would be millions less potential tourists swearing at us.

  11. “john b // Nov 13, 2012 at 9:53 am

    AM: he may be free to preach hatred, but he hasn’t been caught doing so in a way that’s illegal in the UK”
    I am still amazed that saying this –
    http://www.islamagainstextremism.com/articles/zwjet-the-barbaric-abu-qatada-encouraged-the-murder-of-innocent-women-and-children.cfm
    “here it becomes clear that threatening the offspring and wives of the apostates with death,….is a legislated act and there is no doubt surrounding it.”
    -is not illegal in the UK.
    Personally I don’t think fascists should be given asylum in the UK and of course Islamo-fascists should also be excluded.
    I am not saying that people I disagree with should not be given asylum – just not people who want to kill me. Some people call that racist – these people are moron.

  12. “john b // Nov 13, 2012 at 9:53 am

    CM: the government are trying to send Qatada to face trial based on evidence obtained by torture, which is illegal under English law. The court which issued the ruling in question – the SIAC – is a British court. The European Court of Human Rights denied him leave to appeal. So no, Europe has bugger all to do with it.”
    I really don’t care what happens to him when he leaves the UK. I just want him to go. He should never have been allowed here.

  13. Andrew M,

    So he’s free to preach hatred; but meanwhile a kid posting a mean message on Facebook or Twitter gets thrown in prison? The law is truly an ass.

    Those cases are malicious prosecutions, using ancient telecoms laws (designed to protect switchboard operators) to block free speech.

    It would be good if someone with some celebrity power mounted a campaign of support for each of these little scrotes, using some of their wealth and influence, until the CPS stopped doing it.

  14. Rupert F: I don’t think there’s any evidence whatsoever that Qatada has threatened the UK’s security, is there? I mean, the man’s a deeply unpleasant arsehole, but that isn’t the same thing.

    James V: he claimed asylum on arrival in the UK in 1993 – ie he didn’t arrive on false pretences at all.

    Serf: where do you suggest? “We’re sending you this alleged terrorist, because we don’t want him” isn’t exactly a winning strategy.

    David: of course fascists, of whatever kind, should be given asylum – as long as they’re being persecuted for their beliefs rather than for criminal actions. Just like the fascist-supporting bus driver who was (rightly and justly) reinstated by Meddling Eurocrats. The point of the sodding law is to protect people with objectionable views. If their views weren’t considered objectionable, then they wouldn’t be being persecuted for them.

  15. “john b // Nov 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

    David: of course fascists, of whatever kind, should be given asylum – as long as they’re being persecuted for their beliefs rather than for criminal actions. Just like the fascist-supporting bus driver who was (rightly and justly) reinstated by Meddling Eurocrats. The point of the sodding law is to protect people with objectionable views. If their views weren’t considered objectionable, then they wouldn’t be being persecuted for them.

    The bus driver of course didn’t promote killing black children. If he had, he would of course have sacked legally as opposed to illegally.

    There is a difference between objectionable views and calling for people to be killed. If you are persecuted for believing that Christians are XX you can come here. If you are persecuted for wanting to kill Christians then no because you might do so.
    Abu Qatada is in the later category (although more of a talker than doer).
    Many of Nick Griffin’s views are repulsive – but he has never killed for non whites to be killed. If he did and he were not a UK citizen I as someone with non white friends and family would call for him to be deported. Abu Qatada wants at least some non Muslims to be killed and is not a UK citizen so he should go.

    One other point unfortunately letting Muslims come here has damaged our freedoms a country can have free speech or it can have Muslims. Of course those who are here legally should not be deported – I believe in the rule of law – but we should stop the Al-Hijra.

  16. John B quick question were there people like you in 6th century Medina do you think? It would explain a lot. I wonder if when their heads were being cut off if they changed their views or not.

  17. Maybe Ecuador would have him. We could do a deal – they get Ass ange, who they want, and have to take Abu too.

  18. Do SIAC decisions make legal precedent? If so, all evidence gathered by illegal means is inadmissable.

    UEA e mails.

    5,000 Jersey HSBC account holders get off scot free. (Stolen bank details.)

    If “corpus juris” takes precendents from all courts, several hundred thousand Germans won’t be disturbed by the taxman, as that CD was stolen too.

    Jarndyce v Jarndyce here we come!

  19. Do SIAC decisions make legal precedent?

    Yes, they do. But only within the immigration system.

    If so, all evidence gathered by illegal means is inadmissable.

    No – not true at all. The test isn’t ‘gathered by illegal means’ but ‘flagrant denial of justice if admitted.’ This was (and has been for some time) held to apply for evidence adduced through torture.

  20. This merchant, like the other burke that was recently sent to the tender mercies of the Federal Tyranny has done nothing except talk shite on the Internet. Vague allusions as to what classes of person might be killed under the auspices of the Religion of Peace is not the same thing as saying go out and kill X. He is a vile turd but has committed no crime and can’t be rousted because TPTB don’t like him. If that happens to him , it will sooner or later happen to us.

    As for the five million cash being wasted–well stop watching him. He is a talker not even a planner, let alone a do-er of deeds. A lot of the paranoia is pedalled by the state to create the impression everyone is in instant deadly danger–and thus the political scum are justified in extinguishing our last few freedoms to “save” us.

  21. A rare opportunity to agree with you, so to be seized. We behave like a “wee sleeket, cowran’ tim’rous beastie” at present at the whiff of disorder. In fact if you look back through our history we’ve survived much worse than this turbulent priest, and should have the confidence to allow law to run its course.

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