Three Month Race of Abu Qatada


London 2012 games are just round the corner and the US has raised repeated concerns about the security of the event. Americans are especially worried that the UK police have had to cut the numbers of police officers and other security forces available for the summer 2012. Particularly unsatisfying for Washington is the restriction of the scope of the anti-terrorism ‘stop and search’ forces.

Home secretary Mrs Theresa May and culture and sport secretary Mr Jeremy Hunt as well as the Prime Minister, take turns to chair security meetings about the Olympics, which are usually dominated by the latest US concerns and security questions. Moreover, they are aware that al-Qaeda or one of its affiliates might try to disrupt the Olympic Games with american team members being the obvious target. With these circumstances in mind, special attention is being paid to a resident of England who is number one on the deported list.

The Jordan-Palestinian Abu Qatada came to Britain in 1993 with his wife and  three children after being expelled from both Jordan and Kuwait for bombing plotting and supporting the invasion led by Saddam Hussein. However, all of the facts mentioned above did not result in him being turned away at the airport but, on the contrary, he was granted refugee status.

British officials did learn their lesson, when Abu Qataba, who was happily living on the  British tax payers’ subsidies, set up a one-man run spiritual advice centre for Islamist Warriors and preached from Finsbury Park mosque. The Daily Mail published the story of Qatada on 18th January saying:

‘ For what it is worth, a host of eminent Muslim theologians condemned practices which Qatada said were legitimate.’

Furthermore,  the case of Abu Qatada culminated in 2001 when Spanish police indicted him for raising money for an al-Qaeda cell in Madrid, while German police found his audio tapes in the flat used by 9/11 highjacker Mohammed Atta. He also influenced Richard Reid, the shoe bomber who attempted to destroy the American commercial flight and who is now serving life in the super maximum security prison in the United States.

At the present, Qatada is fighting to stay in Britain and has already successfully persuaded the European Human Right   Court in Strasbourg of his innocence, though European judges’ decision goes against the interests of the UK authorities, who are eager to extradite Abu Qatada to Jordan where he is facing a life sentence for involvement in terrorism. This desire currently is multiplied with London 2012 fast approaching. Abu Qatada was released from the UK jail under  strict bail conditions, he has also been electronically tagged and has various restrictions outside his house. However, the UK officials have only three months to show significant progress towards deporting Mr Qatada and obtaining evidence of his guilt in such a way that their legitimacy cannot be argued in the court, otherwise his bail conditions will be lifted and he might walk free.

Home secretary Mrs Theresa May flew to Jordan to seek an agreement over the deportation of Abu Qatada. In her statement earlier this month she said that both countries were committed to ensuring Abu Qatada faced justice and were pursuing all options in regard to his deportation. Currently British tax payers, who are paying for Qatada’s well-being, and the US security staff are preoccupied with whether or not one of worlds potentially most dangerous men will win the three month race for freedom.

By Ksenia Solovyova, Crystal Blankenbaker, Irina Czako, Juliana Milanesio

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