It was to be expected that regardless of the level of payout, the Sun was bound to be outraged by the paying of compensation to Abu Qatada and the other men detained illegally at Belmarsh. Quite why it or anyone else is so surprised that the ECHR awarded compensation is a mystery: a more flagrant breach of both the right to liberty and a fair trial is difficult to imagine, regardless of the threat the men are said to pose. These norms and values are however ones which the Sun and some politicians have no intention of respecting when they are so apparently inimical to common sense.
The Sun's opening paragraph could hardly be more partisan:
A BARMY decision to award terror suspect Abu Qatada and eight others £75,000 for a “breach” of their human rights sparked outrage yesterday.
Barmy and most certainly not a "breach" then. You have to wonder how the Sun would respond to a British citizen abroad being detained without charge for over three years, or indeed to a British citizen not accused of links with terrorism being detained here for over three years without charge. One suspects that their attitude might well be entirely different. That Qatada is a "terror suspect" is irrelevant: he has the same rights as everyone else, and to suggest otherwise is part of where we've gone wrong in attempting to fight the terror threat. Those accused of links with terrorism are fundamentally criminals, and need to be declared as such, with normal criminal prosecution taken against them. That this is itself is controversial is partially why compensation has now rightly been paid out.
Naturally, comparisons with the victims of the 7/7 attacks are brought in:
Survivors of the 7/7 attacks on London in 2005 last night compared the handout to their own battle for compensation.
Jackie Putnam, 58, from Huntingdon, Cambs, suffered memory loss and trauma.
She said: “It seems the rules are there to protect the bad guys and the good ones get pushed aside. The suspects have won justice but there has been little or none of it for the victims of 7/7.”
Victim’s dad Mr Foulkes, of Oldham, Greater Manchester, added: “I despair when I hear of a decision like this, then I get angry because it rubs salt in the wounds.”
None of those given compensation have any link whatsoever to 7/7 to begin with, unless you can somehow make a case that they were inspired by Qatada, something I haven't seen made before. Equally, Putnam might well be referring to justice in the sense of bringing those other than bombers themselves involved to book, but if she's referring purely to compensation then there is no real comparison. Back in 2007 the government had already paid out over £3 million to the victims of the attacks, while another £12 million from a dedicated charitable relief fund had also been distributed, sums which put the total of £75,000 and £2,500 to Qatada into stark relief.
For some unfathomable reason, David Cameron also has to stick his nose in. His contribution would be hilarious if it wasn't both so dire and craven:
Unbelievably, taxpayers are going to have to pay him and other terrorist suspects thousands in compensation for detaining them.
It could have been more, but I resent every penny.
Taxpayers can directly blame Cameron for having to pay him compensation: while he was absent or abstained from the vote on the legalisation which introduced indefinite detention without charge, he subsequently voted in 2004 for the renewal of it. Also, why is it unbelievable? Does Cameron not think that detaining anyone without charge indefinitely is beyond the pale?
You have to shake your head at his sheer shamelessness.
He comes to Britain illegally — we let him stay. In the aftermath of 9/11 we detain him fearing he was planning something.
We say he can leave detention if he leaves the country. He doesn’t.
He drags us through appeals at our own courts and the European Court and we have to pay him for the pleasure.
It's about time we challenged this nonsense about him coming here illegally - by definition the vast majority of those who come here and subsequently seek asylum enter the country illegally, mainly because they have no legal way of doing so. His entry was on a false passport, and if we want to be really picky about it, it was a Conservative government which let him stay. He wasn't detained because we feared he was planning something - he was detained simply because of his links to terrorism. Likewise, why on earth would he leave detention when he's a Palestinian by nationality and so cannot return there, and also quite understandably doesn't want to return to Jordan where he faces potential mistreatment and an unfair trial. Nowhere else will take him, hence he's stuck here. He drags us through all his layers of appeal, as is his right.
This case was not even about whether he might be tortured if returned home — just that he might not get a fair trial by our standards.
Why should it be our responsibility and what should we do about it?
Actually it was about whether he might be tortured - just that the judges rejected that part of his argument, while the appeal court accepted he would not face a fair trial, a decision now overturned by the Lords. Does Qatada not deserve a fair trial "by our standards"?
First, we should have stronger border controls. A Conservative government will set up a dedicated Border Police force.
If dangerous people slip through, we should bring them to justice.
And will this border force stop those with false passports getting in and then claiming asylum? Of course not.
A Conservative government will tear up the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights, so we can deal with human rights issues more sensibly.
It makes a mockery of human rights if we can’t protect ourselves against people who are out to destroy them for everyone else.
Will the Conservatives also then be withdrawing from the Council of Europe, and thus leaving the ECHR altogether? All the HRA does is institute the ECHR in British law; all tearing it up will do is mean those seeking justice will have to wait far longer before they receive it. We also have "protected ourselves" from Qatada, as the Lords judgement showed. The people who make a real mockery of human rights are those that deny they are both universal and that want to make it more difficult for the average person to seek recompense, which is exactly what the Conservatives' position will do.
On then to the Scum's incredibly poorly argued leader:
YESTERDAY was a humiliation for Britain.
We have been ordered by Europe to pay thousands to terror suspects such as Abu Qatada simply because we locked them up to keep our streets safe.
Note that throughout the Sun claims we've been ordered to do this by "Europe". The ECHR does not represent Europe: it is simply a European institution, one which we had a major hand in creating. The Sun's constant conflation of the EU with the ECHR is both misleading and almost certainly deliberate, designed to cause further apoplexy at unaccountable institutions when it simply isn't the case. It also wasn't a "humiliation": the real humiliation was that we were the only nation in Europe post 9/11 which felt that the threat to us was so serious that we had to abandon our own long-held values and liberties, while all the others got on perfectly as they had been, despite similar threats to them also. The idea that we locked up Qatada and the others to keep our streets safe is also ludicrous: if we'd really wanted to do that we would have prosecuted them, not detained them illegally and afterwards even allowed Qatada out on bail.
Worse, this disgraceful ruling means our money could well end up funding weapons to attack our own Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Qatada and eight other extremists must be paid £75,000 between them in compensation and costs, rules Europe’s crackpot Human Rights Court.
Who is to say the money won’t be recycled into the back pockets of al-Qaeda?
Considering that four of those given compensation have already been deported, that Qatada is in prison and that the others are still on control orders, the chances of any of the money going on weapons to attack forces or to al-Qaida is incredibly slim to non-existent. Even if some did, I hate to break it to the Sun but £2,500 doesn't buy a lot of weaponry; it might barely cover a couple of decent guns. That al-Qaida and other terrorist groups have other rather more dependable sources of cash then those locked up over here is something of a understatement. The costs of course won't go to the men, but rather to their lawyers.
This is the lowest moment since Labour’s catastrophic decision to enforce European human rights laws in Britain.
We have to go cap in hand to a monster like Abu Qatada with a cheque from the very British taxpayers he wants murdered.
The lowest moment since the last lowest moment, obviously. The only thing catastrophic about the HRA to the Sun is that it potentially affects its business model, as we have noted in the past. If we didn't want to have to pay Qatada compensation, we shouldn't have acted illegally; it's pretty damn simple.
Europe’s human rights laws have made this country a laughing stock. We could be funding terrorists to buy guns to shoot our own soldiers.
Is that the third time in a very short article that the Sun's made the same argument? Hasn't that barrel been scraped enough? Do I really need to say again that "Europe's" human rights laws are as much our creation as anyone else's?
We can’t endure the shame of this any longer. We have to change the law.
Britain’s safety must come before pandering to Europe.
So, as previously stated, we're going to both abolish the HRA and withdraw from the ECHR, yes? The idea that we're pandering in any way to Europe is ludicrous: we're simply operating as every other democracy in Europe does, including the authoritarian likes of Russia, which is also signed up to the ECHR. The idea that we would withdraw from it while Russia stayed would make us the real laughing stock, a country which abandons its principles to fight a pathetic threat that has been ridiculously exaggerated. The Sun, as ever, only has its own real interest at heart.
Labels: Abu Qatada, civil liberties, compensation, European Court of Human Rights, human rights, Scum-watch, Sun-watch, terror, terror suspects