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Abu Qatada Taken Into Custody, Theresa May Due To Make Statement

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ABU QATADA
Radical cleric Abu Qatada was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at his home | London Media

Abu Qatada, the radical cleric, has finally been re-arrested and taken into custody ahead of his deportation to Jordan on terror charges.

Smiling Qatada, 51, described by a judge as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, was dressed in grey and surrounded by press photographers as police led him away from his family home in North London.

Deportation proceedings are reported to be underway and Qatada has been old he can expect to be removed from the UK around the 30 April.

Home Secretary Theresa May is due to make an emergency statement to the Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

PICTURES: Scroll down for images of Abu Qatada being arrested

Qatada has been held at his home under bail conditions pending assurances from the Jordanian government to the Home Office that the cleric would not be tried with evidence gained from the use of torture.

The British government has been trying to deport the Palestinian-Jordanian preacher for more than seven years, claiming that he was a threat to national security.

Earlier this year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it would be unlawful to deport Qatada, as he was unlikely to face a fair trial.

The ruling led to a protracted legal battle in the UK, with Qatada's lawyers arguing against their client's deportation.

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However, a Home Office statement released following Qatada's arrest said "we intend to resume deportation proceedings against him", suggesting that the legal wrangling may finally have been settled.

Abu Qatada's legal team said in a statement on Tuesday that they would apply for bail following the latest arrest.

A team of undercover police officers arrested the preacher at 12.30pm on Tuesday.

Five smartly dressed officers, including one female officer, were in the house for around 15 minutes before emerging with Qatada, who left the house smiling. He was not handcuffed.

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Dressed in trainers and a full length tunic, he was taken to a black people carrier by the officers and driven off.

On Monday, Labour accused the home secretary of allowing "too much drift and delay" in the Government's bid to send Qatada back to Jordan.

Qatada was released on bail from Long Lartin high-security jail in Worcestershire in February after spending nearly seven years in custody.

The 51-year-old had not left the semi-detached property where he was living since being released from detention.

PICTURES: Qatada being arrested in North London on Tuesday:

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