Abu Qatada: Terror Suspect Set To Be Released

Terror suspect Abu Qatada will be released from prison later after winning his latest battle to avoid extradition to Jordan.

The radical cleric, who has been detained in Long Lartin prison in Worcestershire since April, is being granted bail after judges ruled sending him to his home country would breach his human rights.

Qatada, once described as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, will return to his home address but will be subject to a 16-hour curfew and only allowed out between 8am and 4pm.

He will also have to wear an electronic tag, will not be permitted to use the internet and will be barred from contacting certain people.

His release is a serious blow to Home Secretary Theresa May who in April declared he should be deported soon after she secured assurances from Jordan that evidence obtained via torture would not be used at his trial.

Despite this, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) sided with Qatada's lawyers. They also rejected attempts by Home Office lawyers to challenge bail.

The three judges including Mr Justice Mitting ruled that evidence from his former co-defendants Abu Hawsher and Al Hamasher, said to have been obtained by torture, could possibly be used against him.

Mrs May was furious at the decision, calling it "deeply unsatisfactory" and the Government intends to appeal.

The Home Secretary told the Commons: "Qatada is a dangerous man, a suspected terrorist, who is accused of serious crime in his home country of Jordan."

She said she believed Mr Justice Mitting applied the "wrong legal test" in finding in Qatada's favour.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Tuesday: "We are absolutely determined to see this man get on a plane and go back to Jordan, he does not belong here.

"He wanted to inflict harm on our country and this coalition Government is going to do everything we can to challenge this every step of the way to make sure that he is deported."

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper backed plans to appeal against the "extremely serious and worrying judgement" and said Mrs May needed to get Qatada's deportation "back on track".

Jordan said it would seek to assist the appeal and acting information minister Nayef al Fayez repeated assurances that Qatada would receive a "fair trial" in the country.

The cleric has now challenged and ultimately thwarted every attempt by the Government over the last decade to put him on a plane.

The legal battle is thought to have cost taxpayers millions in legal aid, prison costs and benefits.

Following his release, he will be put under round-the-clock surveillance at his home - at a reported cost of up to £100,000 a week.

Qatada was convicted of terror charges in Jordan in his absence in 1999 and Britain has been trying to deport him since 2001.

The House of Lords decided in 2009 that he could be extradited but in January this year, European judges said it could not happen while there was a "real risk" that evidence obtained by torture could be used against him.

Mrs May travelled to Jordan to obtain assurances about how the case would be handled and then mounted fresh deportation proceedings.

Qatada lost his subsequent bid to launch another legal challenge at the European Court of Human Rights, and took the fight back to the British courts and Siac.

After the latest ruling, his solicitor Gareth Peirce said: "We clearly agree with the decision, but it is important to emphasise the fundamental rules of law that we subscribe to. To that extent, it is important for other cases, not just for this case."

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes