Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

Decision to rule out Abu Qatada appeal a 'missed opportunity'

‘Jordan has a known record of torturing detainees and conducting unfair trials’ - Kate Allen

Amnesty International has expressed its disappointment at today’s decision by a panel of judges at the European Court of Human Rights not to refer an appeal in the case of Abu Qatada to the Court’s Grand Chamber. 

Amnesty believes that the deportation to Jordan of Abu Qatada would put him at a real risk of torture and of receiving an unfair trial tainted by torture.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“This is a disappointing decision and a missed opportunity. The Grand Chamber would have been the right body to examine this appeal because it raises fundamental issues about whether ‘deportation deals’ with countries which routinely use torture should ever be relied on.

“Jordan has a known record of torturing detainees and conducting unfair trials. The simple truth is that Abu Qatada will be at personal risk of torture and of receiving an unfair trial in Jordan’s State Security Court.

“No matter what a person has been accused of, the UK must abide by the absolute global prohibition on torture and not try to wriggle out of it on the basis of an unreliable and completely unenforceable ‘agreement’ with Jordan.

“When, as is now highly likely, the UK courts examine the question of whether further ‘assurances’ given by Jordan will guarantee him a fair trial, they need to take a cold, hard look at Jordan’s record on torture and unfair trials. 
“Meanwhile, if the UK authorities genuinely believe that Abu Qatada has committed a criminal offence, they should either put him on trial in this country or extradite him to a third country that can safely and fairly do so.”

Amnesty has long insisted that the use of so-called “deportation with assurances” deals are deeply unreliable and risk exposing individuals to human rights abuses.

In 2010 Amnesty published a report - Dangerous Deals: Europe’s reliance on ‘diplomatic assurances’ - showing that several European countries had been trying to circumvent human rights safeguards with this manoeuvre. The report labelled the UK “the most influential and aggressive” promoter of the policy of seeking such diplomatic assurances.

Meanwhile, in 2009, Amnesty and two other human rights organisations submitted a joint intervention to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Othman (Abu Qatada) v. UK, raising concerns about the reliability of unenforceable “diplomatic assurances” to justify transfer of individuals to countries which routinely use torture and where they would face a real risk of being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment.

Read for more information on torture and unfair trials in Jordan

View latest press releases