Abu Qatada Bail: Conditions Among Toughest Imposed Since 9/11
A radical cleric who poses a serious risk to the UK's national security will live under some of the toughest bail conditions imposed since the September 11 terror attacks.
Abu Qatada will be banned from taking his youngest child to school, must stay inside his home for 22 hours a day and cannot talk to anyone who has not been vetted by the security services first when he is released from jail.
Once described by a judge as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, he will also be banned from meeting 27 named individuals, including new al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Qatada, 51, has been held for six-and-a-half years, more than any other detainee in modern immigration history, while fighting deportation.
But he will be released from Long Lartin high-security prison in Evesham, Worcestershire, after applying for bail when human rights judges in Europe ruled he could not be deported without assurances from Jordan that evidence gained through torture would not be used against him.
Under the terms of his release, the Home Secretary has just three months to show the Government is making significant progress in securing his deportation or risk Qatada being freed from his bail conditions.
These were agreed between lawyers earlier today as a Jordanian government minister said the country was working with the UK Government to give the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) the assurances it needed.
Qatada will only be allowed outside his London home in a prescribed area for two one-hour periods each day - and he will be kept in during the school run, sources said.
An edited eight-page summary of the terms released by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (Siac) showed he will be banned from meeting 27 people, including al-Zawahiri, radical cleric Abu Hamza, and terror suspect Babar Ahmad.
Mahmoud Abu Rideh, who was previously under a control order in the UK, is also among the terror suspects on the list, despite the fact he is believed to have been killed in a missile strike in Afghanistan in 2010.
Qatada is also banned from using the internet and mobile phones, as well as meeting or communicating with anyone who is subject to Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpims), the Government's replacement for control orders.
The bail terms also ban Qatada from leading prayers, giving lectures or preaching, other than to offer advice to his wife and children at his home.
The cleric, who must wear an electronic tag and check in with the monitoring up to four times a day as he enters and leaves his home, is also banned from making any statement without the prior approval of the Home Secretary.
And should he meet an acquaintance in a "genuinely chance situation" in the street, he "must, after any initial greeting, disengage himself from the situation (whether by explaining the terms of his bail order or by making an excuse)".
The bail terms were released as Ayman Odeh, the Jordanian legislative affairs minister, said the country had passed a constitutional amendment in September to ban the use of evidence obtained through torture.
"We are confident that once we have the chance to make this statement through the diplomatic channels... (it) will be taken into consideration," he told Sky News.
"We are now making the necessary arrangements to do such assurances through the British Government. Very soon something will be done for this purpose."
Downing Street added that the Government was considering "all the options" for removing Qatada "at the earliest opportunity".
Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron told King Abdullah of the "frustrating and difficult" position Britain was in over its efforts to deport the Islamist radical and Home Office Minister James Brokenshire is visiting the Jordanian capital, Amman, this week to continue talks.
But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: "It is clear the Government has not done all it can to stop Abu Qatada being released from high-security prison today.
"In issues of national security, a more urgent and less cavalier approach is needed."
Qatada, also known as Omar Othman, was convicted in his absence in Jordan of involvement with terror attacks in 1998 and has featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the September 11 bombers.
Since 2001, when fears of the domestic terror threat rose in the aftermath of the attacks, he has challenged, and ultimately thwarted, every attempt by the Government to detain and deport him.
Last month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that sending Qatada back to face terror charges without assurances that evidence gained through torture would not be used against him would be a "flagrant denial of justice".
The ruling was the first time that the Strasbourg-based court has found an extradition would be in violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to a fair trial, which is enshrined in UK law under the Human Rights Act.