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U.K. Seeks to Claw Back Legal Costs From Abu Qatada

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Home Secretary Theresa May said the U.K. government is examining ways to reclaim some of the legal costs it has incurred as a radical Islamic cleric, Abu Qatada, fights deportation to Jordan on terrorism-related charges.

A special immigration appeal court in London ruled Last month that Qatada, who is accused of links to al-Qaeda, can’t be deported because it couldn’t be sure that evidence against him was not obtained through torture. The U.K. government is still working on efforts to deport him.

The Ministry of Justice said on Dec. 5 the U.K. has paid 515,778 pounds ($839,000) in legal aid so far to Hamza’s lawyers. Opposition Labour lawmaker Keith Vaz, who is chairman of Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee, asked May today if Qatada’s seized assets, valued at 217,000 pounds, could be used to offset that cost.

“There has been some ability to defray against what has been seized,” May told Vaz’s panel at a hearing. “This is an area where I have asked my officials to look at the processes and the legislation around this area, not just because of this case but because of other cases as well where this is an issue in criminal cases as well as terrorism cases.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in London at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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