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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Abu Qatada – a test of our civil liberties

Abu Qatada – a test of our civil liberties

Letters, The Guardian

The Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, has stated Abu Qatada could have been tried in Britain, if there was sufficient evidence to do so (Report, 17 February). In the parliamentary exchanges on 7 February, I asked the home secretary why Qatada had not been charged with incitement to murder, in view of the alleged content of the notorious sermons he had preached. This religious fanatic and racist should never, of course, have been allowed into Britain in the first place, and the security authorities certainly have questions to answer over this. Mr Hammarberg is also right in his criticism over what occurred in the Commons when this matter was being discussed. It was not a pretty sight to see virtually every Tory MP who spoke urging that the decision of the European court of human rights should simply be ignored, and Abu Qatada put on the next plane to Jordan.

If there were those who were somehow persuaded that the Conservative party, when in opposition, were actually in favour of strengthening civil liberties, presumably they will no longer be under such illusions.
David Winnick MP
Lab, Walsall North

• In the plainest terms, your editorial (14 February) makes the unarguable case for according to this most reprehensible man the proper standards which adherence to the rule of law requires. What a contrast to the shrill, unthinking reactions of much of the rest of the UK press and many of its MPs. I am proud, as a British citizen, that there is still a voice of reason in the midst of so much prejudice and nonsense.
Robert Nelson
St Kilda, Victoria, Australia

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