|Abu Qatada Al-Filistini
أبو قتادة الفلسطيني
|Born||Omar Mahmoud Othman
1959 or 1960 (age about 53)
Bethlehem, West Bank (then occupied by Jordan)
|Other names||Abu Omar|
|Known for||Alleged links with terrorism, imprisonment without trial|
Abu Qatada al-Filistini (Arabic: أبو قتادة الفلسطيني, ’Abū Qatāda al-Filisṭīnī), born Omar Mahmoud Othman (Arabic: عمر بن محمود بن عثمان ‘Umar ibn Maḥmūd ibn ‘Uṯmān),[a] in 1959/60, is a Palestinian Muslim of Jordanian citizenship. He is under worldwide embargo by the United Nations Security Council Committee 1267 for his alleged affiliation with al-Qaeda. Regularly imprisoned in Britain since he was first detained under anti-terrorism laws in 2002, he has not been prosecuted there for any crime. The Algerian government has described Abu Qatada as being involved with Islamists in London and possibly elsewhere. After initially barring the United Kingdom from deporting Abu Qatada to Jordan, in May 2012 the European Court of Human Rights denied him leave to appeal against deportation without specifying a reason.
On 12 November 2012, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) upheld Abu Qatada's appeal against deportation and released him on restrictive bail conditions. The Home Secretary Theresa May said the government would appeal against the decision.
Abu Qatada has Jordanian nationality because he was born in Bethlehem in the West Bank in 1960, which at that time was under Jordan's control. In 1989 he went to Peshawar in Pakistan where he served as a professor of sharia sciences.
In 1991, after the Gulf War, Abu Qatada was expelled from Kuwait along with many other Palestinians. He returned to Jordan, but in September 1993 he fled with his wife and five children to the UK, using a forged UAE passport. He requested asylum on grounds of religious persecution, claiming he had been tortured in Jordan, and asylum was granted in June 1994.
According to Conservative politician Boris Johnson, Abu Qatada's residence in Britain is estimated to have cost the British taxpayer at least £500,000 in benefit payments to his family and other expenses by early 2012. The Daily Telegraph claimed the cost to be as high as £3 million by May 2012, a figure that could not be confirmed by the British Home Office.
Abu Qatada's writings and speeches have been critically assessed by a contemporary Salafi Muslim scholar from Algeria, Shaykh 'Abdul-Malik ar-Ramadani al-Jaza'iri, in the book Takhlis al-'Ibad min Wahshiyyat Ab'il-Qataad aladhi yu'du ila Qatli'n-Nisa wa Awlad [Liberating the Servants from the Barbarism of the Father of Thorns Who Propagates the Killing of Women and Children] (Jeddah: Maktabah Asalah al-Athariyyah, 2001 CE/1422 AH).
The Guardian Newspaper reported that in 1995 Qatada issued a fatwa justifying the killing of Muslims who renounce their faith, and of their families. In 1999 he advocated the killing of Jews and praised attacks on Americans.
Links and influence 
Although Abu Qatada distanced himself from al-Qaeda following his arrest in London in 2001, Fawaz Gerges remarks he had extensive contacts with al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan at the time. Jason Burke notes, "Qutada [sic] has impeccable traditional and modern Salafist credentials and had acted as the in-house alim to radical groups, particularly in Algeria, from his base in northwest London since 1994". In 2001, after bin Laden was criticised by a Salafist faction for issuing fatwas, he turned to Abu Qatada for support, and the support was forthcoming.
According to the indictment of the Madrid al-Qaeda cell prepared by Spanish prosecutors, Abu Qatada was "considered the spiritual leader" of al-Qaeda in Europe and other groups including the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), and the Tunisian Combat Group. Abu Qatada has been called by The Times a preacher or advisor to al-Qaeda terrorists Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid. According to The Independent, videos of Abu Qatada's sermons were found in the Hamburg apartment of Mohamed Atta when it was searched after the 11 September 2001 attacks, which Atta led.
When questioned in the UK in February 2001, Abu Qatada was in possession of £170,000 cash & £805 in an envelope labelled "For the Mujahedin in Chechnya". Mr. Justice Collins, then chairman of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) that rejected his appeal against detention without charge or trial in 2004, said that Abu Qatada was "heavily involved, indeed was at the centre in the United Kingdom of terrorist activities associated with al-Qaeda. He is a truly dangerous individual ...". Abu Qatada was subsequently released in 2005, never having been charged with any crime. Abu Qatada's name is included in the UN al-Qaeda sanction list pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267.
In 2005 Qatada recorded a video message to the kidnappers of peace activist Norman Kember, appealing for Kember to be released. BBC journalist Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza on 13 March 2007. Johnston's captors, the Doghmush clan who headed the Army of Islam, demanded the release of dozens of captives, including Abu Qatada. Abu Qatada offered to help negotiate Johnston's release. In 2012 the al-Qaeda-linked Somali group Al-Shabaab threatened an attack against the UK if Qatada was deported.
On 7 February 2012, The Daily Telegraph reported that a senior manager at the BBC had instructed its journalists not to call Abu Qatada an extremist. The BBC subsequently used the form of words "accused of being one of the UK's most dangerous extremist preachers".
Conviction in Jordan 
In 1999, Abu Qatada was sentenced in absentia by Jordan to life imprisonment with hard labour for conspiracy to carry out terror attacks, and subsequently in 2000 to a further 15 years for his involvement in a plot to bomb tourists attending Millennium celebrations in Jordan. The 1999 conviction related to events described by the US State Department in 1998 as involving the "Reform and Defiance Movement--a small, mostly indigenous radical Islamic group" targeting the Modern American School and a major hotel between mid-March and early May, with bombings which caused minor property damage but no casualties.
In 2008 the UK Court of Appeal concluded "that his 1999 conviction for terrorism was based on evidence extracted through torture." At Abu Qatada's 2012 SIAC hearing, Mr Justice Mitting observed that the evidence presented by Jordan against Abu Qatada "seems extremely thin".
Arrest and detention in UK 
In February 2001, Abu Qatada was arrested and questioned in connection with a German terror cell. There was insufficient evidence against him, and all charges were dropped. Tapes of his sermons were later discovered in a Hamburg flat used by the 9/11 hijackers The Home Office stated that Abu Qatada was the spiritual guide to the 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta.
In the wake of 9/11, new anti-terror legislation was quickly introduced in the UK. Abu Qatada, who had hitherto lived with his family in Acton, west London, disappeared. His disappearance and his previous alleged contacts with MI5, prompted speculation by the Times that he was working with British intelligence and had agreed to provide them with information on suspects in the "war on terror". The Times reported that "Britain ignored warnings — which began before the 11 September attacks — from half a dozen friendly governments about Abu Qatada’s links with terrorist groups and refused to arrest him. Intelligence chiefs hid from European allies their intention to use the cleric as a key informer against Islamic militants in Britain."
In October 2002 Abu Qatada was arrested at a council house in south London and taken to Belmarsh Prison. Here he began a long legal battle against deportation. In October 2002, the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, detained Abu Qatada indefinitely without trial under Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA), which at that time provided for such detention. The Special Immigrations Appeals Commission subsequently rejected an appeal by Abu Qatada to be released from detention without trial.
Abu Qatada claims that he fears he would be tortured were he returned to Jordan. During this period Abu Qatada lived in a legal twilight as Asim Qureshi, of UK-based human rights group CagePrisoners, explained : "He has not been able to see the evidence against him neither has his lawyer. The only person representing him is a special advocate who is not allowed to speak to him or his solicitor. There you have the bizarre situation where someone is representing him who has never met him or his lawyer," he said.
In 2005, Part 4 of ATCSA was replaced by the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, which replaced detentions with control orders, and Abu Qatada was released under such a control order. Five months later, on 12 August 2005, Abu Qatada was detained again pending deportation to Jordan. A British court ruled on 26 February 2007, that he may be deported to Jordan.
On 9 April 2008, the Court of Appeal ruled that Abu Qatada could not be returned to Jordan as he would face a further trial where there was a strong probability that evidence obtained by torture might be used that would amount to a breach of the United Kingdom's obligations under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. He was released on bail by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission on 8 May 2008, subject to a 22-hour home curfew and other restrictions. His bail security was provided by former terrorist hostage Norman Kember, whose release Abu Qatada had requested before Kember's rescue by the SAS in 2006.
In November 2008, Qatada was rearrested at his home. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission revoked his bail, stating he had not broken bail conditions, but might do at some time in the future. The commission accepted the government's claim that Abu Qatada posed a significant risk of absconding, and returned him to prison pending his possible deportation.
On 18 February 2009, the Law Lords ruled that Abu Qatada could be deported to Jordan, with Lord Hoffmann declaring that "There is in my opinion no authority for a rule that ... the risk of the use of evidence obtained by torture necessarily amounts to a flagrant denial of justice." On the same day Home Secretary Jacqui Smith served a deportation order against Abu Qatada. No step was taken to enforce the order pending Abu Qatada's appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In the same month the ECHR awarded Abu Qatada £2,500 in a lawsuit he filed against the UK, after judges ruled that his detention without trial in the UK breached his human rights.
On 17 January 2012, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Abu Qatada could not be deported to Jordan as that would be a violation of his right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This was the first time the court has ruled that such an expulsion would be a violation of Article 6. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission subsequently ruled that Abu Qatada should be bailed on highly prescriptive terms for three months while the British government sought further reassurances from Jordan. Under the UN Convention Against Torture, to which the UK is a signatory, states are obliged to refrain even from complicity in torture, and thus are forbidden from deporting people to places where a real risk of torture exists. Torture is rife in Jordan and Human Rights Watch has documented allegations of severe abuse, although the prospect of torture did not stop the UK from deporting people to Libya under Colonel Gaddafi.
Abu Qatada was released on bail on 13 February 2012. He was prohibited from using a mobile phone, computer or the internet, and subject to an electronically monitored 22-hour curfew that only allowed him to leave home twice a day for a maximum of one hour.
On 17 April 2012, Abu Qatada was rearrested at his home in London. In a statement the same day the Home Secretary, Theresa May, said that reassurances and information received from Jordan meant that Abu Qatada could now be deported. His lawyers said they had lodged an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights, amidst confusion whether the three month deadline for reappealing following the 17 January ruling had passed or not.
On 20 April 2012, Abu Qatada requested the Home Secretary to revoke the deportation order of 18 February 2009. On 18 May 2012, the Home Secretary notified Abu Qatada of her refusal to revoke the order. The European Court of Human Rights had already denied Abu Qatada leave to appeal earlier in the month without specifying a reason, normally taken to indicate that the court considers no new issues have arisen. Abu Qatada was granted leave to appeal in the UK and the case was heard by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC). On 12 November 2012, SIAC upheld the appeal, ruling that Abu Qatada was still at risk of having evidence obtained under torture used against him and that the Home Secretary was wrong not to revoke the deportation order against him. Abu Qatada was granted bail on restrictive conditions. The Home Secretary Theresa May said the government would appeal the decision. Abu Qatada's solicitor Gareth Peirce, commenting on the ruling, said: "It is important to reaffirm this country's position that we abhor the use of torture and a case that was predicated upon evidence from witnesses who have been tortured is rejected - rejected by the courts of this country as by the European Court." Nevertheless the ruling attracted criticism that SIAC had effectively overturned the 2009 ruling of the Law Lords, the highest court of the land. The Prime Minister David Cameron expressed his frustration that Abu Qatada was still in the UK.
In March 2013 Qatada was re-arrested after allegedly breaching his bail conditions. The Court of Appeal again rejected the Home Secretary's attempt to deport Qatada, in April 2013 denied her leave to appeal, on the basis that "states cannot expel someone where there is a real risk that they will face a trial based on evidence obtained by torture."
- Islamic Movements and Contemporary Alliances, argues for no affiliation between Muslim and non-Muslim countries.
- al-Ansar magazine, the official mouthpiece of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), to which he contributed in the early 90s.
See also 
- Abu Qatada's personal name (ism) is Omar. Officially, this is followed by his patronymic (nasab), consisting of his father's personal name (ibn Mahmoud) and sometimes that of his paternal grandfather (ibn Othman). The name 'Abu Qatada' is a kunya that is used in preference to his official name; the two words form a single unit, and calling him 'Qatada' is incorrect. The name 'Abu Omar' is an alternative kunya that he has used. 'Al-Filistini' is a tribal name (nisba) meaning 'the Palestinian'. Although never used, his full name is Abu Qatada Omar ibn Mahmoud ibn Othman al-Filistini.
- "The List established and maintained by the 1267 Committee with respect to individuals, groups, undertakings and other entities associated with Al-Qaida". United Nations. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Cleric held as terror suspect". BBC News. 25 October 2002.
- "Government says will deport radical cleric Abu Qatada". Reuters. 17 April 2012.
- Richard Norton-Taylor (14 February 2012). "Why is Abu Qatada not on trial?". Comment is free (guardian.co.uk). Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Government of Algeria (17 April 2003). "Report of Algeria on the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1455 (2003)". United Nations. p. 14. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Paul Harris, Antony Barnett, Burhan Wazir and Kate Connolly (5 May 2002). "Britain's most wanted". The Observer. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Reuters, "Britain: Radical Cleric Faces Setback in Court Over Efforts to Deport Him", reprinted by The New York Times, 9 May 2012.
- Travis, Alan (9 May 2012). "Abu Qatada deportation appeal rejected by human rights court". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "Abu Qatada wins appeal against deportation". BBC News. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- "Investigating Al-Qaeda". BBC News. 2003. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Global Jihadism:Theory and Practice at Google Books
- Dominic Casciani (17 January 2012). "Profile: Abu Qatada". BBC News. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Travis, Alan (19 November 2009). "Abu Qatada: from refugee to detainee". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Boris Johnson (13 February 2012). "On top of everything else, Abu Qatada costs us a small fortune". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
- Furness, Hannah (8 May 2012). "Cost of keeping Abu Qatada in Britain 'tops £3m'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
- Shaykh 'Abdul-Malik ar-Ramadani al-Jaza'iri (2007). "The Savage Barbarism of Aboo Qataadah" (pdf). Retrieved 14 February 2009. "lecture given at Masjid Ibn Taymeeyah (Brixton Mosque, London) on 21 August 2005 CE. The lecture based on Shaykh AbdulMaalik's book Takhlhees al-'Ibaad min Washiyyati..."
- The Guardian, 24 April 2013, Timeline: Abu Qatada
- The Far Enemy:Why Jihad Went Global at Google Books
- Burke, Jason (2004) . Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam (revised ed.). London: Penguin. p. 184.
- Angel Rabasa et al. (2006). "Beyond al-Qaeda: Part 1—The Global Jihadist Movement". Project Air Force. Rand Corporation. p. 27. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Daniel McGrory and Richard Ford (11 August 2005). "Move to expel 'al-Qaeda cleric' will test Britain's resolve on law". The Times. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Cleric Abu Qatada branded 'truly dangerous'". The Independent. Press Association. 17 January 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- BBC News (23 March 2004). "'Qatada's key UK al-Qaeda role'". Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Court rules that Abu Qatada can be deported". Home Office. 26 February 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Vikram Dodd (18 May 2007). "Radical cleric offers to appeal for kidnapped BBC journalist". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- BBC News (9 May 2007). "BBC concern at new Johnston tape". Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- CNN Staff (9 February 2012). "Al-Shabaab joining al Qaeda, monitor group says". CNN. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
- Tom Whitehead (20 April 2012). "Terrorists threaten to attack UK if Qatada is deported". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- Neil Midgley; James Kirkup (7 February 2012). "BBC tells its staff: don't call Qatada extremist". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- BBC News (13 February 2012). "Abu Qatada to be released from Long Lartin jail". Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Robert Booth (7 February 2012). "Abu Qatada: spiritual leader for deadly Islamist groups?". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- U.S. State Department, Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 p29
- Referred to in the 2009 Law Lords judgement as the "‘Reform and Challenge’ case". para 42
- Marsden, Sam (10 October 2012). "Evidence against Abu Qatada 'extremely thin', claims appeal judge". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- Paul Peachey (22 February 2012). "Abu Qatada costs 'will rise to £3m'". The Independent. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
- Daniel McGrory and Richard Ford (25 March 2004). "Al-Qaeda cleric exposed as an MI5 double agent". The Times. Retrieved 1 March 2012. The article is also viewable here.
- BBC News, Profile: Abu Qatada , 26 Feb 2007.  Accessed 3 March 2012
- Audrey Gillan (26 October 2002). "Judges back terror law detention". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Jonathan Brown (8 February 2012). "The case against Abu Qatada". The Independent. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "'Threats to UK security' detained". BBC News. 12 August 2005. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- Alan Travis (10 April 2008). "Appeal judges bar removal of 'key al-Qaida deputy'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Paul Lewis and Alan Travis (18 June 2008). "Radical preacher released on 22-hour curfew". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- BBC News (2 December 2008). "Judges send Qatada back to jail". Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- "Radical Cleric To Be Deported From UK". Sky News. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Dominic Casciani (18 February 2009). "Law Lords back Qatada deportation". BBC News. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- The Guardian, 18 February 2009, Abu Qatada takes deportation fight to European court after law lords ruling
- Alan Travis (20 February 2009). "Civil rights groups defend Qatada payout". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Duncan Gardham (17 January 2012). "Abu Qatada cannot be deported to Jordan, European judges rule". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Tom Whitehead (6 February 2012). "Abu Qatada to be released within days". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Clive Baldwin (20 February 2012). "Abu Qatada: no more paper promises". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- "Jordan/EU: Torture Prevention Insufficient". Human Rights Watch. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Secret Intelligence Documents Discovered in Libya: Files Show Intimate Relationship Between CIA, MI6, and Libya". Human Rights Watch. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- "Abu Qatada released under strict bail conditions". The Daily Telegraph. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- Somaiya, Ravi and Alan Cowell, "Britain Arrests Muslim Cleric, Again Seeking Deportation." The New York Times, 17 April 2012.
- Furness, Hannah (17 April 2012). "Hate preacher Abu Qatada can be deported, Home Secretary says". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- Whitehead, Tom (18 April 2012). "May's bid to deport Qatada descends into farce". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "Theresa May and the 14 dodged Abu Qatada questions". The Daily Telegraph. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- Judd, Terri (12 November 2012). "Abu Qatada to be released on bail after winning appeal against deportation to Jordan". The Independent. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- Mark Duell, James Slack and Jack Doyle (12 November 2012). "Qatada out today... at £5m a year cost to taxpayers: Hate preacher WON'T be deported to face trial". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "Radical Preacher Abu Qatada Wins Appeal". The New York Times. AFP. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "A mockery of justice". The Daily Telegraph. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "Cameron 'Fed Up' With Abu Qatada Still In UK". Sky News. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.