Europe Insists: We Can't Kick out the Preachers of Hate; Proposals Ban Return of Asylum Seekers on Human Rights Grounds
Byline: TIM SHIPMAN
NEW EU rules could block Britain's attempts to deport Islamic preachers of hate.
The European Commission is due to unveil proposals tomorrow banning the return of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers to countries where they might face human rights abuses.
The plans will be seized on by the lawyers of 50 extremist clerics who, under a Home Office blitz, are facing deportation to countries including Syria, Lebanon and Algeria.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke said the Government would target those who 'foment, justify or glorify' terrorism and clerics who 'foster hatred which might lead to intercommunity violence'.
Ministers are securing guarantees from Middle Eastern countries that they will not torture or execute suspects who are sent home, including Jordanian Abu Qatada, the preacher often described as Osama Bin Laden's ambassador in Europe.
But several of those targeted have already boasted that they are untouchable because their lawyers say the agreements are not worth the paper they are written on.
The EU rules, to be unveiled by Commission vice-president Franco Frattini, will establish minimum standards for the treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers.
They will create a further obstacle to the removal of the hate preachers and make it more difficult for the Government to circumvent human rights legislation.
A leaked copy of the EU directive makes clear that the Commission has decided against adding measures on expelling people who pose a security threat and called for existing laws to be used against suspects.
And it claimed, remarkably, that countries would be better off keeping their terror suspects under surveillance rather than deporting them.
'It may not always be in the interest of the state to expel a suspected terrorist. It may sometimes be preferable to bring criminal charges against such a person or to keep him under surveillance in a member state,' the document reads.
Ministers will have three months to decide whether to sign up to the new rules, but opting out would be an explosive move since Britain currently holds the revolving presidency of the EU. …