The European court of human rights has blocked the deportation to Jordan of Abu Qatada – who has been called Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe – because he risks facing a trial based on torture-tainted evidence.

The Strasbourg judges upheld the British government’s strategy of attempting to deport international terror suspects to countries which have given diplomatic assurances that they will not face torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.

But in a ruling published on Tuesday the human rights court said there remained a real risk that evidence obtained by torture would be used against Qatada, or Omar Othman as he is also known, and that would amount to a “flagrant denial of justice”.

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