Omar Othman is a resident of this country – guilty of no crime and up to now facing no charges – whose home country wants to put him on trial in a case where the key evidence against him will in all likelihood have been procured by torture. The only reason he probably won’t be tortured is because the state concerned has reluctantly promised (as an inducement to get him back) not to follow its usual routine.
If this person’s name were MacKinnon or Giles or Gary and the country Syria or Sudan, we’d have outraged Daily Mail editorials and a civil libertarian Home Secretary. But it is Abu Qatada and the state is Jordan.
In politics universal values (the rule of law; the protection of human rights; the prohibition on torture) are fine – but only so long as they don’t get in the way of our diplomatic or…
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