Ministers seeking to deport radical cleric Abu Qatada tried to get Jordan to pardon him so he wouldn't be retried using evidence obtained through torture, a special immigration tribunal was told today.
Mr Qatada, also known as Omar Mahmoud Mohammed Othman, has been held without charge for eight years.
He is fighting a Home Office bid to deport him to Jordan, where he was convicted in absentia of being involved in two terror plots.
Mr Qatada could be retried if sent back. His lawyers say that any trial would be unfair as the torture evidence used to convict him would likely be used again.
Ministers claimed that the Jordanians have promised not to use it.
But the European Court of Human Rights ruled in January that one of Mr Qatada's co-defendants was tortured to get the information on which he was convicted.
Judges said it was likely to reappear at any retrial, where it would be "of considerable, perhaps decisive importance."
Former British ambassador to Libyan Anthony Layden told the Special Immigration Appeals Commission today that then security minister James Brokenshire asked Jordanian ministers in February if Mr Qatada could be pardoned if sent back.
They said they couldn't, so the Home Office dug out "plan B" - to see if Jordan's king could.
The pardon was being sought because the evidence against Mr Qatada was "granted by torture."
The British government also asked Jordanian prosecutors to pledge not to rely on the torture evidence. They said No.
Meanwhile Justice Mitting, presiding over the case, said on Wednesday that some of the evidence in the criminal trial against Mr Qatada was "a bit thin."
He also referred to the difficulty of using evidence from alleged co-conspirators who had subsequently had their convictions quashed.