Category Archives: Trials and Appeals
Terror suspects should not have to spend years languishing in British prisons before they are extradited or sent home, Kenneth Clarke has said.
The Justice Secretary said keeping prisoners in jail for years before Europe’s human rights judges even got round to hearing their case was “one of the biggest disgraces in recent cases”.
The delays only add to the frustrations over high-profile controversial cases such as Jordanian terror suspect Abu Qatada and Babar Ahmad, he said.
Speaking as the row over Qatada, who has been fighting moves to deport him for 10 years, intensified, Mr Clarke said the time the case has taken exacerbated frustrations.
“When frustrations are expressed here, or in other member states about individual cases, I think those frustrations are made far worse if it’s taken years and years and years for the cases to come up in the first place,” he said.
He also highlighted the case of Ahmad, a 36-year-old computer expert and alleged terrorism fundraiser who has been held in a UK prison without trial for nearly eight years.
“The longest stayers we have in British prisons awaiting disposal are people waiting for hearings at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg,” he said.
“One of the biggest disgraces in recent cases has been how many years they’ve taken before they’ve got on.
“Babar Ahmad, who I think is the person we have at the moment as one of Her Majesty’s guests who has been there the longer than anybody else, waiting for a resolution of his dispute.
“That is not the way we do things in Britain, or it shouldn’t be.
“We don’t expect to have people years and years in prison waiting for a hearing.”
The Brighton declaration, signed by the 47 member nations of the council of Europe today, would help reduce the number of cases going to the court and help reduce the amount time people are held on remand, Mr Clarke said.