The right if difficult decision.
The whole extended legal farce has been one idiocy followed by another. We know quite well that Qatada, much like Hamza and Bakri Mohammad, had at least some sort of relationship with the security services; how far it actually went, whether they were informing or whether there was some sort of pact by where they didn't call for attacks against this country in their preaching is much harder to ascertain. Bisher al-Rawi, formerly held at Guantanamo, was repatriated here because it emerged that he had in fact been helping MI5 all along keep tabs on Qatada, while Jamil el-Banna was approached and urged to become an intelligence asset shortly before he left for Gambia, where he and al-Rawi were subsequently arrested and rendered to Gitmo. Whether this is part of the reason why he has not been simply charged with inciting racial hatred like Hamza eventually was is unclear, but it seems that as with Bakri, the authorities have decided it's much easier to simply get rid of him than to try to build a case against him.
This is strange because despite the case against him in Jordan, it was his preaching here that undoubtedly has influenced some that have subsequently become suicide bombers or plotted terrorist attacks. Like with Hamza and Bakri, the services undoubtedly know what he was up to, and probably have tape after tape of his speeches, or at the very least intercepts of some of his telephone calls. While we simply can't know whether it would be possible to try Qatada here if intercept evidence was allowed in court, a ban that the head of the FBI recently denounced as "untenable", it's difficult to believe that if the government was truly exercised that it couldn't be able to build a viable case against him. Perhaps the difficulty is that unlike Hamza, the US doesn't seem to be making any efforts to attempt to extradite him, where he would undoubtedly face a far longer prison sentence than any he would ultimately face here. Even that isn't certain though, as although Qatada has never been personally linked to any plots here, those recently sentenced have faced sentences of over 20 years.
At the heart of the issue ought to be the acknowledgement that deporting anyone to a country that practises torture, and Jordan is certainly one, with Human Rights Watch only yesterday reporting that up until 2004 Jordan was one of the destinations for those who went through the rendition programme, and they weren't being sent there for the beautiful beaches and excellent prison facilities, ought to be the absolute last resort. Instead the government has used it as the very first resort. "Memorandums of understanding" that aren't worth the paper they're typed on are a ludicrous justification for doing something that we would have never have done prior to 9/11. Under Brown we've been told that despite what Blair said, the rules of the game haven't changed. They ought to prove it by doing the decent thing over Qatada.