A further demonstration of the rewards of a long career in terrorism

PUBLISHED: 14:17 GMT, 26

By Steve Doughty

March 2012 | UPDATED: 17:29 GMT, 26 March 2012

You love life and we love death, Al Qaeda once proclaimed. The slogan now needs a little reworking to make room for Abu Qatada, who loves his large house in north west London.

Something like you love life, we love death, but only for other people.
Abu Qatada, you will recollect, is the man once described by a judge as Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe. He is living in Britain courtesy of the European Court of Human Rights, which has ruled he could not get a fair trial if he were deported to his native Jordan. The Strasbourg judges fear evidence gained through torture could be used against him.

We know that Qatada is enjoying life because we have it from his brother in Jordan, who has said that ‘right now he is the happiest man in England’.

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Rehoused: Qatada has been handed a more expensive taxpayer-funded home

This is a major endorsement for the Court of Human Rights, the European human rights convention which it enforces, and of course the Human Rights Act, which gives these rules precedence in our own law. In America, the Declaration of Independence offers the right only to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

Here the European court will give you happiness on a plate, although there has to be some doubt about the life bit if Abu Qatada is allowed to hang around for long.

According to his brother Ibrahim Othman, Qatada spends his days with his wife and five children living the simple life, watching Islamic TV channels and reading Islamic texts.

I’m surprised he’s not a Rolling Stones fan. You may remember Keith Richards saying happiness is not a Lear Jet to fly home on.

But if we are to believe Mr Othman, the main source of Qatada’s happiness is not his piety but his house. Let him tell it: ‘They have now given him a very nice new place, bigger than the first house he went to.

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New terror suspect rules are ‘control orders lite’

Terror Law Review:

New terror suspect rules are ‘control orders lite’

PA

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

 

 

GETTY IMAGES

Plans to relax restrictions imposed on suspected terrorists and rebrand controversial powers used to keep tabs on them are little more than “control orders lite”, critics said today.

Liberty, the civil liberties campaign group, accused the Government of bottling the decision on the future of counter-terrorism powers, saying that, “spin and semantics aside, control orders are retained and rebranded, if in a slightly lower-fat form”.

 

The new powers announced by Home Secretary Theresa May will no longer need to be reviewed every year, a clear signal that the restrictions against suspected terrorists against whom prosecutions cannot be brought are here to stay.

 

The term “control order” has been scrapped and will be replaced with “Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures”, or Tpims, Mrs May said. Continue reading

Al-Qaida prisoners living in hostels after early release

Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
The Observer, Sunday 19 July 2009

At least 20 men suspected of harbouring al-Qaida sympathies and convicted of terrorism offences have been released from British prisons this year, according to probation staff.

The men had reached the two-thirds point of their sentence and therefore qualified for release back into the community, where the majority are being supervised by probation staff as they reside in hostels.

Many have been placed on curfews or placed under strict licence conditions in a bid to ensure they are kept under close supervision. But the revelation that convicted terrorists are being housed in hostels is likely to trigger a national debate on how best the authorities can deal with what is considered by many experts to be a new type of serious offender.

Most of the men released so far were convicted for offences associated with the possession of terrorist material or literature or aiding others who went on to carry out terrorist attacks both in the UK and abroad. The probation union, Napo, claims that nine men convicted for terrorist offences are being housed in hostels in London, two in the Midlands and another four in Yorkshire.

Probation staff say that, although many of those released may pose a real threat, the normal tools used to assess the risk of reoffending are of limited value because of the motivation which led to their crime.

“It is extremely difficult to work with any individual whose criminal behaviour is politically motivated,” said Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of Napo. “The psychology is totally different from the vast majority of persons convicted of criminal offences whose activity is either acquisitive or, in cases of violence, often pathological.”

However, with an estimated 160 people convicted of terrorism offences inspired by al-Qaida currently residing in Britain’s jails, there is growing pressure on the authorities to give details of how they intend to deal with convicted terrorists.

While most are considered “minor” offenders, several convicted of more serious offences are due to be released soon. Andrew Rowe was given a seven-and-a-half year sentence after being caught with details of how to fire mortar bombs and secret codes to facilitate terror attacks. He is due to appear before the parole board within weeks.

Raids on his home uncovered a handwritten guide to firing battlefield weapons, videos of the 9/11 atrocities and tapes of Osama bin Laden. He had used the names of specific models of mobile phones as code for words and phrases such as “airline crew”, “explosives” and “army base”. His socks carried traces of TNT and plastic explosives.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said anyone convicted of terrorist offences and sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment would be subject to probation supervision on release from prison.

“They have to adhere to a set of strict conditions and are subject to recall to custody if they breach their conditions or their behaviour indicates that it is no longer safe to allow them to remain in the community,” she said. The Home Office has also pledged to deport any convicted terrorists who are foreign nationals.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/19/al-qaida-prisoners-hostels

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