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Abu Qatada To Be Released From Long Lartin Prison

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Abu Qatada is to be released on bail: he smiles in this pic after his release in 2008
Abu Qatada is to be released on bail: he smiles in this pic after his release in 2008

Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada will be released from maximum security Long Lartin prison today, it has been reported.

Government sources have reportedly told the BBC that the cleric will be released later today, although it is unclear when.

Subject to the same restrictions as when he was released on bail in 2008, the 51-year-old must obey a 22-hour curfew and will be prevented from taking his youngest child to school.

It is a small victory for the Home Secretary that the two hours a day in which Qatada will be allowed outside his London home within a prescribed area will not coincide with school opening and closing times.

The cleric, described as "posing a real threat" to Britain's national security, will also have to wear an electronic tag and is banned from using the internet and telephone.

The conditions are some of the toughest imposed since the September 11 terror attacks.

The government has been pushing to deport Qatada to Jordan despite of a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that said he coud face trial using evidence obtained by torture against him.

Last week, David Cameron and King Abdullah of Jordan agreed on the "importance of finding an effective resolution" to his case.
The Prime Minister told King Abdullah of the "frustrating and difficult" position Britain was in over its efforts to deport the Islamist radical.

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire is also visiting the Jordanian capital, Amman, this week as diplomats try to gain the assurances needed from Jordan before Qatada can be sent home.

The cleric has been held for six-and-a-half years, more than any other detainee in modern immigration history, while fighting deportation.

Downing Street said today that the Government was considering "all the options" for removing Qatada "at the earliest opportunity".

"We will take all measures necessary to protect the public," Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said.

"We are committed to removing him from the country. We want to see him deported and we are looking at all the options for doing that. I'm not going to go into specifics."

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