UK welfare payments for deported cleric
Government spent nearly £200,000 to ensure health of extremist Abu Qatada
The UK spent nearly £200,000 to protect extremist preacher Abu Qatada after he was deported to Jordan in 2013, according to information released by the government.
The Palestinian cleric was removed from Britain for being a threat to national security after receiving assurances that evidence gathered under torture would not be used at any trial.
The government agreed to pay for welfare checks and monitoring that amounted to nearly £200,000 until 2016 to ensure he was not mistreated, according to figures obtained by The Times newspaper.
Abu Qatada, described by officials as the spiritual leader of Al Qaeda, was first detained in Britain in 2002 in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Videos of his sermons were found in the German flat used by some of the hijackers.
He had fought a near decade-long battle to remain in Britain to avoid facing charges in Jordan where he was accused of plotting terrorist attacks on Americans and Israelis. He was acquitted of the charges at a trial in Jordan the following year.
He had previously been convicted in his absence in 2000 but his lawyers claimed that the convictions were secured with evidence obtained from the torture of his alleged co-conspirators.
Updated: January 4, 2019 06:47 PM