Qatada prepares to leave prison

Andover Advertiser: Abu Qatada was convicted on terror charges in Jordan in his absence in 1999 Abu Qatada was convicted on terror charges in Jordan in his absence in 1999

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

The radical cleric, who has been fighting extradition for more than a decade, is to be released on bail after judges on Monday 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 Qatada and told the House of Commons that the Home Office will appeal against Siac's decision. Qatada, once described as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, will be released from maximum security prison HMP Long Lartin near Evesham, Worcestershire, today, following the ruling.

He will 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.

Mrs May told MPs on Monday: "Qatada is a dangerous man, a suspected terrorist, who is accused of serious crime in his home country of Jordan. The British Government has obtained from the Jordanian government assurances not just in relation to the treatment of Qatada himself, but about the quality of the legal processes that would be followed throughout his trial. We will therefore seek leave to appeal today's decision."

Mrs May described a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling, which prevented Qatada's deportation earlier this year, as "deeply unsatisfactory" and accused the Strasbourg court of "moving the goalposts" for governments trying to deport dangerous foreign nationals.

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 September 11 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.

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. 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."

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