Terror suspect Abu Qatada is "scraping the barrel" in an appeal against deportation which "bears all the hallmarks of a last-ditch argument", a tribunal has been told.
The radical cleric, described by a judge as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, would receive a fair trial in Jordan if deported, lawyers for Home Secretary Theresa May said.
The Government is satisfied that evidence gained through torture would not be used against Qatada in any trial over terror charges, Robin Tam QC, for the Home Secretary, said.
The appeal hearing at the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) in central London comes after Europe's human rights judges ruled that the 51-year-old could not be deported while there was a "real risk that evidence obtained by torture will be used against him".
But Mr Tam said statements from Qatada's former co-defendants - Al-Hamasher and Abu Hawsher - which were alleged to have been obtained by torture could no longer be used by the Jordanian courts. He also rejected suggestions by Qatada's legal team that the pair would suffer ill-treatment or otherwise be unduly pressured if called to give evidence under oath in any retrial.
"It is submitted that this assertion of future ill-treatment of the former co-defendants bears all the hallmarks of a last-ditch argument."
Mr Tam also rejected a new claim by Qatada's lawyers that the radical cleric would be taken into administrative detention if returned to Jordan.
"This contention simply illustrates the extent to which the appellant is scraping the barrel in this appeal," Mr Tam said.
He went on: "In reality, the position is clear: as a matter of Jordanian law, the previous statements made by Al-Hamasher and Abu Hawsher will not form part of the evidence which is considered by the court in the retrial of the appellant. The two men will be called to give fresh evidence, and if they do so, will be able to give their evidence freely and without fear of reprisal."
In a written skeleton argument handed to the court, Mr Tam said the Home Secretary "will highlight the new information and assurances which she has received" from Jordan.