13 Nov 2012

Terror suspect Abu Qatada released from prison

Terror suspect Abu Qatada is released from prison after winning the latest round in his battle against deportation.

Terror suspect Abu Qatada released from prison (Reuters)

The radical cleric, who has been fighting extradition for more than a decade, has been released on bail after judges approved his appeal against deportation to Jordan to stand trial.

The special immigration appeals commission (Siac) allowed Qatada’s appeal, saying despite assurances to Home Secretary Theresa May, it could not be sure that evidence from witnesses who had been tortured would not be included in a retrial in the Middle East country.

Mrs May has vowed that the government will continue to fight to “get rid” of Abu Qatada and told the House of Commons that the Home Office will appeal against Siac’s decision.

Qatada is expected to return to his home address – although he is said to be planning to move with his family.

He will be subject to a 16-hour curfew and allowed out between 8am and 4pm, with conditions including wearing an electronic tag, not using the internet, and not contacting certain people.

The cleric was convicted of terror charges in Jordan in his absence in 1999.

Jordan has given the home secretary assurances that no evidence gained through torture will be used against him but Siac judges said they could not be sure this would be the case.

Read more: Why has Britain been unable to deport Abu Qatada?

‘Dangerous person’

Asked to comment on Qatada, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told ITV’s Daybreak: “We are determined to deport him, we strongly disagree with the court ruling. We are going to challenge it, we are going to take it to appeal. We are absolutely determined to see this man get on a plane and go back to Jordan, he does not belong here.

“He should not be in this country, he is a dangerous person. 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 to Jordan.”

Qatada, who is said to have wide and high-level support among extremists, featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the 11 September bombers.

He has so far thwarted every attempt by the government over the last decade to deport him, in a battle thought to have cost at least £420,000.