On 17 January 2012 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down its judgment in Othman (Abu Qatada) v UK. It was on appeal from the House of Lords cases RB and U (Algeria) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and Secretary of State for the Home Department v OO (Jordan) which were heard in October 2008 and decided on 18 February 2009.
In a unanimous ruling the ECtHR held that the UK could not lawfully deport Abu Qatada to his native Jordan, overturning the House of Lords who had unanimously come to the opposite conclusion in RB and U and OO. These cases concerned assurances given by the Algerian and Jordanian governments that suspects deported from the UK on national security grounds would not be ill-treated.
Granted leave to intervene by way of both written and oral submissions, JUSTICE and Human Rights Watch argued that reliance on the assurances was fundamentally unsound given the well-established reputation of both countries for using torture, as well as that it would breach Article 3 ECHR to use closed proceedings to determine the risk of ill-treatment on return.
JUSTICE and Human Rights Watch were represented pro bono by Lord Pannick QC, Helen Mountfield, Tom Hickman and Herbert Smith LLP.
European Court of Human Rights judgment is available here
JUSTICE reacts to Othman v UK (17 January 2012)
JUSTICE (with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International) submission to ECtHR in Othman (2 October 2009)
House of Lords judgment is available here (18 February 2009)
JUSTICE press release in Othman – ‘Law Lords deportation ruling undermines torture ban’ (18 February 2009)
Human Rights Watch /JUSTICE press release at start of case – ‘United Kingdom: Stop Deportations to Risk of Torture’ (22 October 2008)
JUSTICE (with Human Rights Watch) submissions to House of Lords in Othman