LONDON — An extremist cleric who has avoided Britain’s efforts to deport him to Jordan for more than a decade was told Thursday he may have dealt a new blow to the country’s exasperated government.
British lawmakers were told a new appeal lodged Tuesday by the Palestinian-Jordanian preacher Abu Qatada, who has fought attempts to expel him from the U.K. since 2001, is likely to be considered by the European Court of Human Rights.
An advisory note sent to Britain’s Parliament by the Council of Europe – which is responsible for the court – said the cleric had submitted his latest effort to contest his deportation “just in time” to beat a deadline.
“I sometimes wish I could put him on a plane and take him to Jordan myself,” Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday, reflecting widespread frustration over the case. “But government has to act within the law.”
Cameron acknowledged he was growing alarmed at the delays that have prevented Britain from removing a man identified in court hearings as having been the late Osama bin Laden‘s spiritual envoy in Europe.
The British leader‘s anger comes after he believed his government had finally succeeded in drawing the protracted legal saga to a close.