Qatada protests banned
Posted: 25th February 2013
The wife and children of radical preacher, Abu Qatada, have won a High Court injunction forbidding demonstrations within 500 metres of their home. Their lawyers had submitted that frequent, noisy, protests in close proximity to their front door had reduced them to ‘effectively prisoners in their own home’.
Whilst emphasising that it was ‘perfectly legitimate’ for campaigners to protest against the presence of Qatada, whose real name is Omar Othman, in the United Kingdom and his family’s occupation of a home at taxpayers’ expense, the court observed that the claimants, including two children under the age of 16, had ‘suffered extreme distress and upset’ due to the actions of demonstrators.
In balancing the family’s interests against protestors’ rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, the court noted evidence of weekly demonstrations taking place close to the family home, accompanied by ‘much shouting of abuse’ and lasting for up to six hours.
The court also granted an injunction restraining various named protest groups, as well as ‘persons unknown’, from communicating or disclosing personal information relating to Qatada’s wife and children, including their address, names, names of relevant schools and images of them.