Authorities in Jordan were asked if they would pardon the radical cleric so that he could be deported, the tribunal heard.
James Brokenshire (pictured), the then security minister, asked Jordanian ministers in February if Qatada could be pardoned if returned.
When Mr Brokenshire was told this was not possible, the UK Government had a “plan B” to research when the King of Jordan could issue such a pardon, an immigration appeals tribunal heard.
Qatada was once described by a judge as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe.
Anthony Layden, the former British ambassador to Libya who specialises in negotiating diplomatic assurances, revealed details of the talks, which took place in Jordan on 14 February.
Under cross-examination by Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Qatada, Mr Layden agreed that the possibility of a pardon for Qatada was explored.
“I think the question of a pardon had been asked earlier and Mr Brokenshire was asking for an answer,” Mr Layden said.
The pardon was being sought because the evidence against Qatada was “granted by torture”, Mr Layden agreed.
The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) in central London is hearing Qatada’s appeal against deportation after Europe’s human rights judges ruled the 51-year-old could not be deported while there was a “real risk that evidence obtained by torture will be used against him”.
Mr Layden also said simple assurances from the Jordanian government that evidence gained by torture would not be used were never going to be enough to deport him as it was a matter for the prosecutors and the courts, not the government.
The UK Government also asked Jordanian prosecutors if they would give “an undertaking in advance that they would not rely on the statements” gained through torture, but the Jordanians refused, Mr Layden agreed.
An attempt to get the State Security Court to rule on the admissibility of the statements before Qatada is deported was also rejected, he added.