Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Jordan and Britain hold Extradition Negotiations | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat- A Jordanian judicial source disclosed that the British authorities are holding negotiations with their Jordanian counterparts to extradite three persons suspected of posing “danger to Britain’s national security”, in addition to Omar Abu-Qatada, a Jordanian fundamentalist of Palestinian origin. The European Human Rights Court rejected the extradition of Abu-Qatada to Jordan that the British judiciary had approved.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the source said one of the persons who are to be extradited is psychologically ill and that the British authorities stopped his extradition two weeks ago after negotiations with the Jordanian Ministry of Health to secure psychological care for him. The source noted that the British authorities reached a conviction that the Jordanian health authorities are unable to provide this care in accordance with the British standards.

The source gave the names of the persons who will be extradited. They are: Hassan Samarah who comes from the Gaza Refugee Camp near Jerash, northern Jordan, Muhammad al-Rifai, and Mahmud Awad.

The source said the British authorities imposed on them more than 100 restrictions regarding their movement, communications, use of computers and telephone, and the movement of their relatives.

The source pointed out that some of them welcome their extradition to Jordan because they will not stand before a Jordanian court and might serve their sentences in Jordanian jails. Others, however, the source added, try to reach a deal with the Jordanian and British authorities to deduct the time they spent in detention or prison in Britain from the prison term that the Jordanian judiciary might pass against them.

Meanwhile, Asim Rababiah, head of the Adalah Centre for Human Rights in Jordan, which will oversee the handover of Omar Abu-Qatada and watch his trial, said that the Abu-Qatada case needs to be decided by European courts in 18-24 months’ time to deport him from Britain.

He said the Centre prepared a team consisting of 24 members who underwent anti-torture training courses. Also, he added, they were trained by British experts on handover procedures and overseeing the measures that the Jordanian authorities will take against the deportees and their trial, in order to ensure that they will not be subjected to any kind of torture.

For his part, Dr Muhammad al-Musa, one of the advisers at the Centre, said that the memorandum of understanding, which has been signed between Jordan, Britain, and the Centre on the extradition of convicts between the two countries, does not stipulate any punishment or legal measures against the party that fails to implement the provisions of this agreement.

He noted that those who will be harmed by the agreement, namely the deportees, may resort to the British judiciary to contest the measures. Such a process might result in a financial settlement that the British authorities will pay to the wronged persons as compensation, he added.

On another issue, Talib al-Saqqaf, one of the members of a delegation that traveled to London to oversee the handover of Abu-Qatada, said: “Abu-Qatada first refused to talk to the Centre’s delegation, but later changed his mind after consulting his lawyer. He initially refused to talk because he thought we were the delegation that came to take him to Jordan.”

Al-Saqqaf added that the delegation explained its goal of overseeing the handover process. He noted: Abu-Qatada’s lawyer was busy trying to secure an urgent ruling from the European Court to stop the extradition, and this is indeed what happened.

Al-Saqqaf said the Centre will deal with other cases and other states in the future. He added that the agreement, which was signed between the Centre and British authorities, is among the first agreements of its kind in the world. He noted that prisoners or others are usually extradited through diplomatic guarantees, which might not be honored.

It is recalled that the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or, Degrading Treatment or Punishment was signed by 145 states, including Jordan, and has been in force since 2006. The convention imposed on the member states a host of legal obligations that must be fulfilled. The national authorities in these states must apply them all.