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European Court of Human Rights says Britain unlawfully detained 9 men

LONDON — The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that Britain was guilty of unlawfully detaining nine men without trial under antiterrorism laws introduced after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The court awarded compensation ranging from $2,155 to $4,944 to the plaintiffs — six Algerians, a Jordanian, a Tunisian and a stateless individual. They were also awarded legal costs.

The British Home Office confirmed that one plaintiff was the radical Muslim cleric known as Abu Qatada, who is believed to have close links to al-Qaida. Abu Qatada, whose real name is Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, was granted $3,549.

The judgment came a day after the highest court of appeal in Britain ruled that Abu Qatada, who has been embroiled in a deportation struggle for seven years, could be sent to Jordan, where he has been convicted in absentia of terrorist acts.

The court said the cash settlements were "substantially lower" than those granted in previous cases of unlawful detention because "the detention scheme was devised in the face of a public emergency and as an attempt to reconcile the need to protect the United Kingdom public against terrorism with the obligation not to send the applicants back to countries where they faced a real risk of ill-treatment."

One of the claimants, Mahmoud Abu Rideh, told Britain's Channel 4 News: "This is rubbish money. I don't want this money. Give it back."

European Court of Human Rights says Britain unlawfully detained 9 men 02/19/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 19, 2009 9:44pm]
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