The proposed treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan that home secretary Theresa May announced today as part of her continuing efforts to deport suspected terrorist Abu Qatada excludes the use of evidence obtained through torture and also allows for the press and public to be excluded from a trial in the interests of national security.
The mutual legal assistance treaty for criminal matters between the UK and Jordan will be the 37th such treaty to be entered in to by the UK. Other countries with which treaties have been signed include Bahrain, Colombia, Malaysia, Romania, Saudi Arabia and Ukraine.
The preamble to the 18-page treaty states that it should be applied with ‘due regard for human rights and the rule of law’, including the ‘right to a fair trial’.
A Home Office spokesman said that the treaty would address the issues raised by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission’s (SIAC) ruling that Abu Qatada should not be removed from the UK because his retrial could be tainted by evidence obtained by torturing the cleric's former co-defendants.
He said: ‘We have been down the judicial route and are appealing to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal the SIAC ruling at the Supreme Court. We are now going down the diplomatic route with the MLA [mutual legal assistance] treaty.’
The mutual legal assistance treaty, which was signed on 24 March, will be laid before parliament for 21 sitting days and is expected to come into force by the end of June.